Fair celebrates Irish traditions
Posted March 13, 2009
Stephanie Arellanes
Carol Madden and her partner Jim Bell dance to Irish music at the Seventh Annual Los Angeles County Irish Fair and Music Festival under the direction of Anne McBride. The event was held at the Fairplex in Pomona on March 7-8. See story on page 8.

If you were looking to get into the St. Patrick’s Day mood and start the holiday off early, the Pomona Fairgrounds had just the solution.

Last weekend the Fairplex hosted the Seventh Annual Los Angeles County Irish Fair, which is the largest of its kind in the Southern California area.

It included everything Irish you could possibly think of from bagpipes to clogging to Irish stew.

“I have come to this fair a couple of times before and each time I am blown away by the interesting entertainment and activities they have,” Bridget Higgins from Whittier said. “It’s a fun way to get into the Irish spirit.”

This year the fair featured eight stages and 20 different acts including many forms of authentic Irish music.

Some of the 20 unique acts performing were the 42nd Highlanders Pipes and Drums, which was a group, that is similar to a marching band, that paid honor to veterans in their performance.

Another fun performance was the band Slugger O’Toole, made up of a group of men who played various Celtic instruments and used crowd interaction and humor to intrigue the audience.

Also included in the lineup were story tellers like Diane Linn, a singer/songwriter from Texas who goes by her alter-ego, The Bard O’Neill, when on stage.

Bard told stories through her scary and creepy Celtic songs that created non-stop audience interaction and even gave some the chills.

Her performance was similar to a ghost story, but put to music.

And what would an Irish festival be if it did not include authentic Irish dancing?

One of the most interesting was groups of dancers was the Cripple Creek Cloggers, a group from the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura and Orange Counties.

They were a group of dancers that blended bluegrass, country, Irish and contemporary music into their routines in a way that blew the audiences’ minds and amazed at the same time.

One of the more notable dance performances of the day was by McCartan School of Dance.

The group, which is run by Marybeth McCartan, ranges in age from three-year-olds to full adults.

They performed authentic and traditional Irish step dancing along with wearing traditional outfits with patterns and certain Irish crests that represent different parts of Ireland.

Each of the dancers’ costumes was vibrant in color?“The little dancers are my favorite, their outfits are so beautiful and their dancing is just amazing to watch,” Michael Baker , of San Bernardino said.

The balloon animals were also popular.

Becky’s Creations was something that many stopped to experience while at the festival.

Becky, a balloon artist who is known for wearing outrageous and colorful wigs and outfits at her shows, created unique balloon art from small puppies to big leprechauns.

Many different varieties of Becky’s creations could be seen in the hands of those who were in attendance at the fair.

Last but certainly not least was the food.

And there was plenty of it at the fair.

All of the restaurants included in the Irish Festival were constantly full of guests wanting to taste some authentic Irish food to complete their experience.

They offered everything from Irish stew to corn beef sandwiches to Sheppard’s pie and the customers were not disappointed.

The scent of the delicious Irish food could be smelled throughout the fairgrounds.

From Irish dancers, to bagpipe players to corn beef sandwiches, people came from all over to experience a taste of the Irish and they were not let down.

The sea of green and the costumes just added to the atmosphere and spirit of the Irish season.

The seventh annual Los Angeles County Irish Fair was the perfect lead-in to St. Patrick’s Day.

Lauryl Bakke can be reached at lauryl.bakke@laverne.edu.

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