FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 19, 2015
Mary Coffey, Indy Irish Fest Chair Erin O’Rourke, Media Chair
P: 317-317-7117 P: 314-749-5122
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Indy Irish Fest Celebrates 20th Anniversary Year with New “Gaela” Event
INDIANAPOLIS – Leaders from the Irish Community in Indianapolis are preparing for a milestone year, as the annual Indy Irish Fest marks their 20th Anniversary with a new event, the Green Tie Gaela. The celebratory “Gaela”, held at the Indianapolis Artsgarden on April 11, 2015, will kick-off the year for all festival leaders and partners, while raising funds for the mission of the Indy Irish Fest organization. The festival has seen tremendous growth since its inception, and the volunteer leaders of Indy Irish Fest are ready to start drawing plans for their larger vision.
“When the Indy Irish Fest started in 1996, it hosted 1,000 people for about four hours. The goal was to celebrate Irish heritage in dance, music, and culture, and have some family fun,” says Indy Irish Fest Chair, Mary Coffey. “With such generous support from the Indianapolis community and around the state, we’ve grown into one of the best festivals in the city and a fixture on the Irish and cultural calendars of Indiana residents.”
The festival now spans an entire September weekend, opening on Thursday with a preview of the fun, and running through Sunday with a Celtic mass and family fun activities. The 2015 Indy Irish Fest will be held on September 17-20th at Historic Military Park at White River State Park. The weekend plays host to more than a dozen regional and local Irish bands playing non-stop on 4 stages, Irish food and cultural activities, and scores of Irish vendors with those special “hard to get” items. Attendees are entertained by the roaming Fountain Trust Pipe Band, as well as some furry friends, dubbed the “Celtic Canines”. In 2014, the festival hosted 30,000 attendees over the course of four days, and all enjoyed a festive atmosphere ripe with the cultural contributions of the Irish community to Indianapolis. Now, it’s time to work toward a larger vision to celebrate that historic cultural contribution.
“We’re ready to take it to the next level,” says Coffey, a planning member of sixteen years.
“Many people don’t know this, but the festival was started with a goal of one day establishing an Irish Heritage Center in Indianapolis. We want to create a place where the Irish community can share their heritage, reserved for generations to come. But first, we want to invite the Indianapolis community to join us on this adventure. It’s guaranteed to be big fun.”
To kick-off the 20th Anniversary year, the Green Tie Gaela will bring together civic and corporate partners who are committed to the larger vision of the festival. The evening will include live Irish music from Makem & Spain, while attendees enjoy a fine dinner and some rousing auctions. The event will be headlined by a presentation of future plans for the festival and heritage center campaign. The event promises to be a great time for the cultural Irish community; a celebration of tremendous growth in the past 20 years and an inspiring vision for the next 20 years and beyond. Tickets and information are available at www.indyirishfest.com, and go on sale February 2015.
About Indy Irish Fest:
The Indy Irish Festival committee, an all-volunteer 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization, was formed in 1996 to host the first festival. Its mission is to preserve, promote and nurture Irish culture, arts, music, and history. The festival has grown significantly over the years and with it, so has the festival’s support of charities and community organizations. Since its inception, the festival has made donations to or helped community organizations raise more than $100,000.
The festival is an opportunity to share Irish heritage through music, dance, cultural activities, and family fun. The festival was the vision of a small group of people who wanted to showcase the heritage, music and culture of the Irish people and the contributions of that culture to our city and state. The Irish are the second largest ethnic group to settle in the Indianapolis area. They have served the community in the fields of religion, education, medicine, law, the arts, politics and commerce.