The Great American Irish Festival has announced that it will be relocating and has changed the dates for next year’s festival. The festival has traditionally been held on the last weekend in July at the Herkimer County Fairgrounds in Frankfort. After 16 years in Frankfort, the festival will make its new home at the new Irish Cultural Center in the Brewery District of Utica on the weekend of Sept. 18-20.
The festival’s original intent was to raise funds to establish a state of the art cultural center highlighting the rich Irish heritage in the Mohawk Valley. With the opening of the multi-use facility on Columbia Street in July of this year, that goal has been met and the decision was made to move the event from Frankfort to Utica as its permanent home.
The new 23,500 square foot venue boasts an event center, an authentic 19th-century Irish pub, Five Points Public House and a museum dedicated to Irish culture.
The move to the Brewery District means there will no longer be camping available to attendees nor will the popular Highland Games be held.
“We recognize the fact that a change of venue may present some short-term challenges and adjustments for our guests and volunteer staff,” organizers stated, “but we encourage your support and good-natured Irish spirit as we make this monumental transition.”
The festival has developed relationships with many of its new Varick Street neighbors, including the F.X. Matt Brewing Company, the Celtic Harp, Nail Creek Pub and Brewery and the Sanctuary, which will allow for more performance spaces.
This year’s festival was headlined by Enter the Haggis, We Banjo 3, The High Kings and the Young Dubliners. Further information on the 2020 festival will be released in the coming months.
We Banjo 3 spoke with NYS Music’s Kathy Stockbridge at the 2018 edition of the festival. View that interview below.