Musicians, local dancers highlighted in lineup
Seven local and regional performance groups will be taking the Irish festival stage on Saturday, March 12, as part of the city’s 37th Annual Alltech St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival. The lineup features musicians, singers and dancers from across Kentucky.
The festival is part of an all-day celebration that begins at 8 a.m. with the 10th annual Shamrock Shuffle to benefit Lexington Habitat for Humanity. At 11 a.m., the annual “Blessing of the Keg” at the Alltech tents in Cheapside Park kicks off the free Irish festival. The parade begins at 1 p.m.
“This year’s festival features a little bit of everything Celtic, including Irish dancers, Scottish pipers and some great bands, including one who mixes traditional Irish music with our more local bluegrass sound,” said Megan Moloney, vice president of the Bluegrass Irish Society and director of the Bluegrass Ceili Academy Irish dance school. “We’re excited to bring these great performers back to our Fifth/Third Pavilion stage for this free, family-friendly event.”
The festival performances kick off with traditional Irish music from Lexington band Liam’s Fancy with special guests John Skelton, Bobby O’Byrne and Jeremy Wade playing until 12:45 p.m. Attention then turns to the parade beginning at 1 p.m. as it makes it way down Main Street from Midland Avenue to Upper Street.
At 2 p.m., the William Sutherland Reid Pipes and Drums. Originally founded in 1975, the group has performed and competed locally and regionally at festivals, concerts and even opened for Rod Stewart at Rupp Arena.
Lexington’s Kentucky McTeggart Irish Dancers bring the rhythm and grace of Irish dance to the stage at 2:30 p.m. Since the mid-1990s, the McTeggart Irish Dancers have taught Irish dance to children and adults alike. This past November, McTeggart’s adult team won the 2015 Mid-American Oireachtas regional group dance championship.
Featured this year at 3 p.m. is "Bluegrass/Greengrass" band Cloigheann (pronounced by the band as “klog-in”). For more than 25 years, the band has blended its traditional Irish and bluegrass roots into a one-of-a-kind sound.
At 4 p.m., the Lexington Irish Dancers take the spotlight. The non-competitive performance group regularly performs at local fairs and festivals, including appearances with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra at Picnic with the Pops.
Musician Paul Cullen performs for the crowd at 4:30 p.m. A native of Ireland, Cullen brings the traditions of Irish song to our festival stage.
Wrapping up the festival performances is the shanty-singing duo Drunk & Sailor. The band goes onstage at 5:30 p.m. with their high-energy, interactive show that’s sure to include audience participation.
Keep up with the parade and festival on social media – @LexStPatsParade on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Parade participants and attendees are encouraged to share their photos online, tag @LexStPatsParade and use #LexStPats2016. Applications for parade participants and vendors are being accepted through March 1 and can be found online at http://www.lexingtonstpatsparade.org/.