Penn-Mar Irish Festival makes its return June 18: What you need to know

Anthony Maenza
York Dispatch

Folks might want to dance a jig this weekend when the Penn-Mar Irish Festivals returns after a two-year, COVID-related hiatus.

Organizers say they're are excited to have the festival return Saturday to The Markets at Shrewsbury in Glen Rock. The festival starts at 10:30 a.m. and continues until 9 p.m.

"We have an excellent lineup. We are really excited," festival spokesperson Mary Yeaple said. "We missed our volunteers. We have a great core committee and group of volunteers that come out."

Internationally-known Irish fiddler Eileen Ivers will be among the performers at the Penn-Mar Irish Festival June 18. Contributed

Tickets for the event are $15 in advance and can be purchased at PennMarIrishFestival.com or at The Markets at Shrewsbury. Tickets will be $20 at the gate.

"It's a nice, smaller, intimate festival," Yeaple said. "There are festivals all over the country that are huge. We are a smaller, intimate festival with a loyal following. We're excited to be back together with everybody."

Internationally known Irish fiddler Eileen Ivers will be among the performers at the festival. Ivers is a Grammy award-winning artist who was the musical star of the original Riverdance and a founding member of Cherish the Ladies.  She is also a nine-time All-Ireland Fiddle Champion.

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“I can’t stop talking about how excited I am to have Eileen Ivers,” Yeaple said. “... She is an icon in the Irish-music community. We are super excited to have her coming to York County.”

Irish contemporary and traditional bands will be performing at the festival, as will a number of Irish dance groups. 

“We sort of start out slow in the morning with some traditional ballads and songs,” Yeaple said. “As the day goes on it ramps up a little bit more. By the end of the night, it full-on blast Celtic rock with people dancing and screaming and having a good time.”

Barleyjuice, a band out of Philadelphia, will be among the performers. Screaming Orphans, a band from Ireland, will also perform traditional and contemporary Irish tunes. Yeaple said the group is a crowd favorite when they perform at the festival. Dave Curley and The Spain Brothers will favor the crowd with Irish ballads. 

"It's a really nice mix. There is something for everyone," Yeaple said. 

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Across the Pond, Arise & Go, Cas Ceol and the Susquehanna Pipes & Drums will also be performing. Irish dance groups performing include McGinley School of Irish Dance, Ni Riain School of Irish Dance, and OH! Gills Irish Dancers.

Yeaple said you can bring lawn chairs to watch the entertainment, but there is also some covered seating.

"We've had some people bring tents and line up along the edge and just sort of make it a party," she said. "They come early, stake out their spots and just stay all day."

The event will include a variety of Irish food and gifts, as well as children's activities. A children's area will offer free crafts, games, face painting and bounce houses. 

The Markets at Shrewsbury is located at 12025 Susquehanna Trail in southern York County. Parking and shuttle bus service will be provided at two nearby locations (look for signs).

— Reach Anthony Maenza at amaenza@yorkdispatch.com or @atmaenza on Twitter. 

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