Enjoy a little bit of St. Patrick's Day over Labor Day weekend when the Irish Days festival returns to downtown Long Grove.
It's a three-day, family-friendly celebration of Irish culture, music, merchants, food, and, of course, beer. Visitors are invited to stroll the town's cobblestone walkways and enjoy bagpipers, folk bands, and Irish dancers in addition to other entertainment, like the popular Irish Dog Competition and the Men's Kilt Contest.
The festival takes place Saturday through Monday, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, in the heart of town, Fountain Square, and includes some of Chicago's top Irish musicians and dance troupes, such as The Tooles, Beamish, The Shannon Rovers Bagpipe Band, Trinity Irish Dancers, Academy of Irish Music, and many more. The full, three-day lineup can be found at longgrove.org/festivals/irish-days.
Another favorite sight at Irish Days is the Irish Dog Competition. All dogs are Irish on Irish Days, but those who dress the part are given extra credit.
Each day, a panel of children judges will crown an Irish Doggie King, Queen, Prince and Princess. The contest is open to any dog whose owner enters them the day-of at the competition area by the Long Grove Information Center, 308 Old McHenry Road.
Irish food vendors like Celtic Pretzel and Harrington's Catering and Deli will be on hand to fuel visitors with handmade pretzels, hot corned beef sandwiches, fish and chips, and other traditional foods.
Additionally, there will be an area selling freshly tapped Irish-themed beers and nonalcoholic drinks.
While a "Wee Ones" area will host Irish-themed crafts and face-painting for kids, perhaps the most excitement and biggest laughs of the weekend comes each day at the Best-Looking Men's Legs in a Kilt contest.
Interested male contestants should wear their best kilt (or closest thing to it) and register at the event.
Last, but not least, Irish Days features a Gaelic Tent in Fountain Square that promotes awareness of the Irish language and genealogy. Representatives from the Irish American Heritage Center will be on hand throughout the weekend to discuss Irish cultural opportunities on the Northwest Side of Chicago.
Admission and parking are free. Festival hours are 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday and 11 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. Monday. Fountain Square is at 228 Robert Parker Coffin Road in Long Grove.
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