Let me tell you kids a little story about a long ago Irish Fest. Way back in the last century in a quaint little village called Brookside, before there even was a Kansas City Irish Fest. One fine day, a band from New York played there. They were called The McCabes and they featured a fantastic young fiddle player with the unlikely name (for an Irish fiddler anyway) of Amanda Kapousouz. All of the smart, good looking people who ran that fest knew that Amanda was something special.
She came and she played and she cast a spell over everybody who saw her. And then the rains came. And it rained. And it rained. And it rained. And Irish Fest was washed away from the river bank it called home, along with almost all of its money. So the smart, good looking organizers, being Irish, decided to have a party. In November they had a big party to raise money to try to save the ailing, rain-soaked baby Irish Fest. Now being broke, they couldn't pay for the things you need for a great party, like beer and bands and stuff. So they called on friends to help. And they called Amanda Kapousouz. And she came from her home in Georgia to help and to play and to save Irish Fest from a muddy grave. She paid her own way. She stayed at the home of one of the organizers' mother. She played for free. She even helped clean up when the party was over. And Irish Fest was saved.
The next year, the Fest moved to a shiny, mudless new home at Crown Center*. Amanda came and played triumphantly. She met and played with her fiddling hero Eileen Ivers. Irish Fest grew and grew. Everybody lived happily ever after. The End.
Only not quite. Because after a far too long absence, Amanda is coming back to play for us in 2012. We're paying her and she gets a real hotel room. And we can't wait. Don't miss a single bow stroke when this amazing player takes the stage. 116 days.
*As if Amanda's KCIF connections weren't strong enough, there's more. The day after the rain out, our local paper ran a story about the debacle featuring a photograph of the smiling and lovely Amanda, festival president Bob Sullivan and me–both of us water logged and shell shocked and not at all lovely–taken at the Phillips Hotel where the fest had taken shelter from the storm and had a little impromptu indoor fest. Perhaps you were there. In the photo I was identified as an employee of Hallmark Cards. Bill Lucas, the Hallmark VP in charge of Crown Center saw that story and that picture and called me at work one day, asking "are you the Regan with Irish Fest?". He said he wanted to talk to us about moving to Crown Center. And the rest is history.