Aside from the 4th of July and Halloween, St. Paddy’s Day is one of my favorite holidays. Not just because its the one time of year that us Irish musicians are in demand, but also because all the great musicians come out of the woodwork to celebrate Vermont’s Irish-American culture in Burlington’s Irish Heritage Festival, a week long festival with music, lectures, movies, drama and dance.
The festival kicked off yesterday with William McKone speaking about John Lonergan and Burlington’s first St. Paddy’s day celebration. There is a slue of events going on throughout the week ending on St. Patrick’s Day when the Irish band Dervish takes the stage.
In between you can find penny whistle and drum workshops, sessions, lectures, children’s stories, movies and more. My two favorite events at this festival are the festival ceili and the Irish music showcase.
The festival ceili will be held on Sunday, March 14th from 1-3pm, and is less like a performance and more like a party where local musicians play for dancers in full regalia from the McFadden Academy of Irish Dance. They usually invite the audience to participate in a few of the set dances. The music is an open session for musicians who can play fast and steady.
This year the annual Irish Music Showcase celebrates women in Irish music. It takes place after the Ceili at 6pm on Sunday, with a session at Ri Ra the Irish Pub following the performance. The who’s who in Irish music will be performing and somehow I got the honor of playing alongside them. The show benefits the Tom Sustic Fund which helps families with children with cancer. So not only do you get to watch a performance with some of Burlington’s finest musicians but you get to help out your community while doing it.
These are only two of my favorite events this coming week, there is so much more. Check out the full schedule of events to find the events that suit your taste.
I hope to see you out and about and have a safe and happy St. Patrick’s Day!