North Texas Irish Festival

North Texas Irish Festival
The North Texas Irish Festival (NTIF) is a three-day ethnic festival held in Dallas, Texas. The event takes place at the recreational and educational complex Fair Park the first weekend in March every year. NTIF was founded in 1983, it is the second oldest Irish festival in the United States and the largest event of its kind in the Southwest.

The North Texas Irish Festival is organized by the non-profit corporation Southwest Celtic Music Association (SCMA). The Association was founded in 1984 following the inaugural edition of NTIF. SCMA aims to increase public awareness of the rich cultural heritage of Celtic peoples as well as to study, promote and preserve traditional Celtic music, dance and culture. NTIF is the organization’s flagship event but it’s not the only one. SCMA also holds concerts, music and dance workshops, and other cultural events. Besides, it grants music and dance scholarships to high school students.

The first NTIF was held in 1983 as the First Texas Ceili. Ceili or ceilidh is a traditional Gaelic social gathering involving playing folk music and dancing. The event featured about a dozen groups and individual entertainers and attracted over 600 attendees. Over the years, it has grown to become the most important Irish/Celtic festival in the Southeast. NTIF features Irish and Celtic performers from all over the world, but it always has a special place for performers from Texas, Arkansas, New Mexico, Louisiana and Oklahoma.

The program of the festival is rich and diverse. It includes dance and music performances taking place on several stages concurrently, whiskey tastings, a Celtic village, informal Irish music sessions at small and cozy venues, cooking and tasting authentic Irish dishes, street performances, traditional storytelling, horse performances, children’s events, and even sheep herding trials. There’s also a market where vendors offers handmade products and other merchandise.

Despite its name, the North Texas Irish Festival isn’t dedicated exclusively to Irish culture. It showcases the culture of all Celtic peoples. For example, one of the festival’s highlights is its annual parade of Scottish clans.

In 2021, the event was held online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

North Texas Irish Festival





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