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State Historical Society of Iowa Press Release

For immediate release March 2, 2009

Contact: Jeff Morgan, Jeff.Morgan@iowa.gov, (515) 281-3858

Historical Museum hosts second annual Irish Fest March 17

Family-friendly event features music, dance, art, workshops and food

(DES MOINES) – The State Historical Museum will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day this month with an Irish festival featuring family-friendly music, singing, dancing, workshops and more.

 The Historical Museum’s “St. Patrick’s Day Festival: Irish Fest” will be 1-4 p.m. Tuesday, March 17, 2009, at the State Historical Building, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines. The event is free and open to the public. Irish Fest is sponsored by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and the Irish Clan of Des Moines. Contact Maureen Korte at maureen.korte@iowa.gov or 515-281-4132 for more information.

 In addition to entertainment and activities, the museum will present a 37-star U.S. national flag – the Irish Harp flag – for viewing 1-4 p.m. Civil War re-enactors will be present and museum staff will be available to answer questions about the flag.

 The festival will include the following activities:


  • Barn Owl Band – Hoot it up with barn dance and Celtic music from the mighty Barn Owl Band from Ames, Iowa. Nationally recognized, the Owls are powered by fiddle, guitar, mandolin, piano, accordion, flute, tin whistle, hammer dulcimer and upright bass.
  • The Foy Irish Dancers – The Foy School of Traditional Irish Dance will present step dancing in the Cowles-Kruidenier Auditorium.
  • The Flatland Ramblers Celtic/Old Time quartet will play a set of traditional Irish jigs, reels, waltzes and hornpipes on mandolin, banjo, fife, guitar, flute and cittern.
  • Aran Daughters, a harp and vocal duo will play and sing songs in Gaelic on the third floor of the museum.
  • The Mackenzie Highlanders will return this year to delight with Pipe and Drum.


  • Dancer and Choreographer Janice Baker will teach dancing.


  • Airbrush Body Creations will airbrush temporary tattoos with a variety of St. Patrick’s Day designs.
  • The Spinners and Weavers Guild of Des Moines will spin and talk about the fabrics of Ireland and weaving.
  • Children of all ages can make Irish and Fairy crafts.


  • State Historic Librarian Susan Jellinger will host genealogist Theresa Liewer, whose workshops will focus on tracing Irish heritage.
  • Patrick Phillips will teach Irish Language and about the culture of Ireland.
  • Lynn Alex of the Office of the State Archaeologist in Iowa City will present a virtual tour of Viking and Medieval Dublin, Ireland, archaeological sites.


  • Café Baratta’s will serve Irish faire all day. Café Baratta’s also offers a children’s menu.


The State Historical Society of Iowa is a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and is a trustee of Iowa's historical legacy and an advocate for understanding Iowa's past. It identifies, records, collects, preserves, manages and provides access to Iowa's historical resources. Its dual mission of preservation and education serves Iowans of all ages, conducts and stimulates research, disseminates information, and encourages and supports historical preservation and education efforts of others throughout the state. Visit www.iowahistory.org or call 515-281-5111 for more information.


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