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Shrewsbury Irish festival highlights music and arts

KAILA YOUNG
YorkDispatch


Haley Richardson is an accomplished player, a six-time Mid Atlantic Region Irish fiddle champion who represented the United States in the All Ireland competition for the past six years.

She is also 12 years old.

She and brother Dylan, a gifted multi-instrumentalist, will be among several performers taking the stage at the Penn-Mar Irish Festival, a bring-your-own-lawn-chair event that runs from 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday at the Markets at Shrewsbury, 12025 Susquehanna Trail.

In its 15th year, the festival is "a fun community event to celebrate Celtic culture," says Mary Yeaple, president of the event.

From food selections to performers and boutique vendors, everything about the Penn-Mar Irish Festival focuses on the importance of Celtic heritage.

Highland Catering will serve up traditional Irish fare such as colcannon and lamb burgers, while Hall's Ice Cream is bringing its special Bailey's Irish Cream flavor.

Other retail vendors will be selling pottery, clothing, jewelry, books and more. Pittsburgh Irish Festival Celtic Gift Shoppe will make its first appearance at this year's event, along with Rapunzel's Hairbraiding.

Music: Two stages will be filled with performers, including four Irish dance groups, storytellers and bands.

Haley and Dylan will be performing sets from their recently released album, "Heart on a String."

Dylan, 17, has been playing with his sister for eight years.

"The best feeling is the connection between Haley and I and the drive that we play with gives the listeners excitement," he said.

Likewise, Haley treasures the bond music can create.

"I love the feeling of being on stage and sharing the music I love with other people who might share the same love," she said.

Storytelling: Another performer is Máirtin De Cógáin, an Irish storyteller, musician and actor.

"I had an amazing youth ... I grew up in a house of traditional music and storytelling," De Cógáin said about his childhood in Cork, Ireland, where he began telling stories at the age of 7.

His father was a wonderful storyteller, and their home was a hub of people singing and dancing, he said.

His combination of stories and songs will focus on royalty and magic, legends of Ireland and the "land of eternal youth," he said.

He also will perform an all-ages show, where he hopes to "expose a bit of social history" through humor and urban legends.

The Kilmaine Saints, a high-energy Celtic rock band, will close out the day with an upbeat concert.

Yeaple is expecting about 2,500 people to attend, she said.

Tickets for the Penn-Mar Irish Festival can be purchased for $10 at the Markets at Shrewsbury or at www.pennmaririshfestival.com/about/tickets.