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North Texas Irish Festival: A Celtic Celebration of the Senses

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The unmistakable drone of bagpipes around the corner may be your first clue that the North Texas Irish Festival is back in full swing.

During the weekend of March 8-10, the Art Deco buildings of Fair Park in Dallas will don Celtic decoration and Gaelic signs as tens of thousands come to experience the 37th annual family-friendly celebration. The NTIF is one of the largest and the second oldest such celebration in the U.S.  Kilts welcome. Dogs welcome.  Even dogs in kilts welcome!

North Texas Irish Festival: A Celtic Celebration of the Senses

Photo: John Spaulding

As you come closer to the sound, you’ll hear Celtic-inspired music throughout the Park.  You have your choice of 13 different stages, featuring top international performers like fiddler phenom Eileen Ivers, returning this year. The New York Times hailed her as “the Jimi Hendrix of the violin.” Also, listen out for a youthful and energetic Irish trio, Socks in the Frying Pan, and a pure a cappella group, The Wee Heavies. And the festival wouldn’t be complete without those bagpipes, courtesy of the North Texas Caledonian Pipes and Drums.

North Texas Irish Festival: A Celtic Celebration of the Senses

Photo: John Spaulding. A popular kissing booth for all ages.

Sound is only one sense that the festival will engage. Everywhere you look, you can see that many participants have waited an entire year to show off their outlandish or traditional Celtic garb. Even the smallest child seems to know her Irish dance steps. Vendors cater to a variety of interests in jewelry, clothing, musical instruments, and artwork.

North Texas Irish Festival: A Celtic Celebration of the Senses
Photo: John Spaulding. “And will you be needing a kilt, laddie?” A vendor offers accessories for the well-dressed Scot.

Then your nose tells you that something good is cooking. You might expect to find the Irish stew, shepherd’s pies, and corned beef and cabbage, but ethnic food vendors are available to serve you just about anything else you fancy: gyros, curried kabobs, and even that iconic fair food, the corny dog. For the adult connoisseur, your favorite beer and even whiskey tastings are available. Visit the culinary stage for cooking demonstrations that will inspire the Celtic chef in you.

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