You spoke and we listened!

The Great American Irish Festival has long been known for mixing it up and adding new events, features, activities, vendors, merchandise and performers; all with an eye to keeping things fresh for even the longest-tenured attendees of the festival.

Check out the following new events — or existing events with a new wrinkle — being introduced to the 2017 Great American Irish Festival:

Wine Slushies

You say you’re in the mood for a nice glass of wine, but the temperatures have you longing for a refreshing slush-based beverage? Why not try a delicious frozen Wine Slushie?  That’s right, flavored with red or white wine, it’s the ultimate summer drink.

Utica Zoomobile

What’s gnu, you ask? Well, it’s a large antelope native to Africa… and while you won’t get to meet one at the Great American Irish Festival, you will be able to enjoy a variety of live animals, courtesy of the Utica Zoomobile!

The Utica Zoomobile, part of an outreach program developed to educate the community, will be on hand at the Wee Zone from 1-3 PM on Saturday and Sunday. The Zoomobile brings a variety of live animals from the zoo to the public. In a quiet and intimate setting, kids of all ages will hear about various climates, species of animals, and how they contribute to their environments. You may even have the opportunity to touch some of the animals!

The Utica Zoomobile: It’s “Family fun for everyone!”

Highland Games

Continuing to introduce the public to the wide array of Gaelic Sports, the Great American Irish Festival presents the “Highland Games.”  You’ll cheer for the burliest of world-class athletes as they compete in traditional Highland Games and heavy athletics.  Games include a crowd favorite, the 175-pound caber toss, in which athletes compete to flip a 19-foot log end over end.  Games take place on Saturday at no additional charge.

Northeast Bagpipe Band Competition

2017 marks the first time youth bands will compete against each other in the Northeast and Great American Irish Festival is pleased to host the final event of the season as well as crown the 2017 Northeast Junior League Champions.

This idea may seem obvious at first glance; however there has never been a group of viable youth pipe bands in the United States that are relatively close to each other.  The band’s directors met to coordinate the schedule as well as “Rules of Play.”  Knowing how their own members thrive in a youth oriented environment, they asked:  “Why not compete against each other?”

The agreed upon format includes Grade 5 Playing Requirements and allowing Playing Instructors.  Their goals are to improve the overall quality of youth bands through competition as well as to foster friendships between the bands.