Celtic Fest is back in Barrington and this year it’s bigger and better than ever.
For the second year in a row, McGonigal’s Pub will host the event over St. Patrick’s Day weekend, March 16 and 17. Last year’s festival was so successful that pub owner Bryan McGonigal didn’t have to think twice about doing it again.
“We opened March 9, 2010, eight days before St. Patrick’s Day. We were thinking about what a success it was and trying to think of something to expand on the St. Patrick’s Day theme and make it more of a festival,” McGonigal said. “I thought why don’t we do some sort of Irish festival around St. Patrick’s day and everyone thought this was a great idea.”
The 2011 Celtic Fest was a huge success, attracting people from not only Barrington, but surrounding towns and cities.
“It helps that we’re right on the train tracks,” McGonigal said. “The turn out was fantastic.”
After last year’s success, McGonigal decided to turn Celtic Fest into an annual event and make the 2012 celebration even bigger than before. The heated tent on Park Avenue will be back, featuring several local vendors. There will also be great entertainment like live bands, bagpipers and Irish dancers. McGonigal’s will be serving traditional Irish food and drinks with the help of Park Avenue Wine Bar, Clarke’s Bakery and Deli and Cooper’s of Barrington.
“This year’s Celtic Fest is bigger and better because we had a year behind us to figure out a better way to handle the situation. The main difference this year is more room, more merchants and more beer,” McGonigal said.
Roughly 3,000 people attended the 2011 festival, making it one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in Chicagoland. This year’s turn out could be even bigger.
“I’d estimate with the size of the tent and the fact that it’s on a weekend this year, we could double last year’s amount,” he said.
Barrington Celtic Fest
- Friday, March 17, 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Saturday, March 18, 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
- Tent closes at 1 a.m. both days
- Admission is free during the day, small donations to American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life accepted after 6 p.m.
- Only those 21-years-old and up admitted after 6 p.m.
- Food and beverages are cash only in the festival tent. Credit cards can be used in the pub.