Irish Festival Moves to Penguin City Brewing

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Mahoning Valley Irish Festival – the first Irish festival in the city in at least a decade – will premiere this weekend, and not without some last-minute shenanigans.

The event will take place Friday evening and all day Saturday inside and outside at the event space at Penguin City Brewing downtown, festival coordinator Shannon Lehn announced today. It was formerly set to take place in Community Alley, which is the paved area under the Market Street Bridge, and adjacent Wean Park.

Lehn chalked up the decision to move the event to “unforeseen circumstances” but would not go into detail. With Irish optimism, she said she is looking forward to it being just as successful. “The greater the struggle, the greater the victory,” she said.

The hours and days for the festival remain 5 to 11 p.m. Friday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. Admission is $5 (free for children under age 12). Parking is available at Youngstown Flea, across Federal Street, and at other downtown lots. Guests can enter through the brewery’s main entrance, 460 E. Federal St., or just walk around to the rear of the building and enter at the event space.

The festival will be fun but also family friendly. “The Irish have been beaten down over the centuries but love to have fun with friends and music,” said Lehn, who has visited the country several times.

“There will be a cultural side of it, and a lot of it will be like St. Patrick’s Day with the same kind of bands, but it won’t be the blowout you see on St. Pat’s,” she said. “It will be more of a festival atmosphere.”

The event will feature nonstop performances by a variety of Irish acts, including the Burke Irish Dancers, Irish folk bands County Mayo, Celtic Rush and the Bogtrotters, and Irish bard Alan Irvine. Pittsburgh-based Celtic rock band The Low Kings will bring the festival to a close.

The Steel Valley Pipes and Drums will play throughout the festival after 6 p.m. Saturday.

Saturday will also feature activities for children by Smarts, plus four bounce houses, yard games and face painting.

Music sessions will take place Saturday in a tent. Guests can pop in with their instrument and play, or just observe as though they are visiting a pub in Ireland, Lehn said.

Food will be available from several vendors including the Magic Tree (corned beef and other Irish staples), Andrew’s Sausage, Paddy McPeppers, Pete’s A Place, Arctic Circle shaved ice and frozen cappuccino, Uncle Sonny’s ice cream, Vindy Tater gourmet tater tots, and The Lemon Lady cotton candy, lemonade and limeade. 

Beer and other drinks will be available, with Sullivan’s Irish Brew making its Valley debut. Penguin City Brewing will introduce its Irish Red Ale at the festival.

There will also be raffles and a silent auction, and several unique vendors.

Here is the performance schedule:

FRIDAY

  • 5 p.m.: The Bogtrotters
  • 6:30 p.m.: Burke Irish Dancers
  • 7 p.m.: County Mayo
  • 8 p.m.: Spot Fire

SATURDAY

  • 11 a.m.: County Mayo
  • 12 p.m.: Burke Irish Dancers
  • 12:30 p.m.: Irish bard Alan Irvine
  • 1 p.m.: The Bogtrotters
  • 2:30 p.m.: Burke Irish Dancers
  • 3 p.m.: County Mayo
  • 4 p.m. Irish bard Alan Irvine
  • 4:30 p.m.: Here Comes Tuesday
  • 5:30 p.m.: Burke Irish Dancers
  • 6 p.m.: Weekend at Blarney’s
  • 7 p.m.: Irish bard Alan Irvine
  • 7:30 p.m. Celtic Rush
  • 8:30 p.m. Burke Irish Dancers
  • 9 p.m.: The Low Kings

Pictured at top: Irish folk band County Mayo will perform several sets at the Mahoning Valley Irish Festival.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.