This weekend, my family will be decked out in green, celebrating all things Irish. Yeah, that’s right, we half-way to St. Patrick’s Day.
Greeley, Neb., is the only town in the state I know of that throws a huge half-way to St. Patrick’s Day party. The annual Greeley Irish Festival is this Saturday, and people have been getting prepped for it since, well, probably March 18. The all-day celebration draws a lot – and I do mean A LOT – of Irish and wanna-be Irish (last year, people came from about 40 counties). I think the town at least triples in size this one day a year.
Kid-friendly and yet beer-drinker friendly, there’s live music, dancing, kids’ arts and crafts, storytellers, and green, lots of green. I can’t say I’m an expert on what goes on at the event – we’ve only made the three-hour trek to the festival just few times – but it is a highly anticipated event for those who’ve been before, and once you’ve been to the party, you’re hooked. Fun, not sloppy, that’s kinda how the day is.
We’re heading up to Greeley this year after taking a few years off. It’s a good chance to catch up with Mr. Wonderful’s extended family since many are from the area. This will be Farley’s second festival (though he was too young to remember the first), and it will be Mooch’s first. They’ll both likely lose their minds, dancing, running around and eating junk food. I might do the same, that’s sounds fun.
I know what you’re thinking. You don’t have family in middle Nebraska, why would you go to this small town? If you’re the type to go all out in celebration on March 17, then you should go at least once (bring some friends). The whole town and its hundreds of visitors get into the party spirit. It’s like being at the biggest beer tent in Omaha on St. Patrick’s Day, only people are much friendlier and there are kids there.
Things to know if you go:
- Bring lawn chairs, sunscreen and warm clothes for the evening
- The Husker game will be on TVs there, they have a tent dedicated to it
- Cost is $20, kids 12 and younger are admitted free (it’s a little cheaper to buy tickets ahead of time, so next year, plan ahead and buy early)
- There are no hotels in Greeley. You can camp, or opt for lodging elsewhere. Grand Island isn’t terribly far and makes for a good option; between the cities lies St. Paul for another option.
- Food vendors will be there