Go Gaelic at Irish Fest

The Irish 2000 Music and Arts Festival Inc. is hosting its annual festival at the Altamont Fairgrounds on Friday, Sept. 19, and Saturday, Sept. 20.

Irish 2000 boasts an average attendance of 14,000 attendees, ranking it in the top five Irish festivals in the United States.

It's been a big part of my life. It's important to me on a personal level, said Matt Nelligan, president of the festival.

He said the chartable nature of the organization allows him to "try to be a good citizen," by participating in the event.

Nelligan said the event was run through the Ancient Order of the Hibernians until 2000, after which it became its own entity.

He joked that there is going to be a good deal of Italian food at the festival since the Irish are not known for their cooking prowess.

Friday's events begin at 5 p.m. and end at 11 p.m., and Saturday's events begin at 11 a.m. and end at 11 p.m.

It is the 12th annual festival, and several Irish artists are featured, including Greenwich Meantime, Neck, Carbon Leaf, Enter the Haggis, the Tossers and Barrage on Friday; and Great Big Sea, Gaelic Storm, Seven Nations and Hair of the Dog performing Saturday.

The festival will feature more than 30 performances on two stages Friday, and four stages on Saturday.

It will also feature a Celtic Kids Family Fun Area, where children will be able to play games and go on rides, Nelligan said.

He added that there are going to be clowns and magicians, as well vendors selling Irish and Celtic goods.

Tickets for Friday are $15 if purchased in advance, and $20 at the gate.

Saturday's tickets are $15 in advance and $18 at the gate. Children under 10 will be admitted free, and a two-day pass, purchased in advance, is $25. The parking fee is $3.

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