I, like everybody who volunteers their time and energy at Irish Fest, work hard to make this party happen. And I, like everybody who works here get asked loads of questions as we get into this home stretch before the fest.
There's one we all get asked a lot and I'm going to take a stab at answering it. That way when I get asked I can just say "read the blog." It'll free up all kinds of time.
Here's the question in a nutshell, though the wording varies:
"How can you call yourself an Irish festival when you're not serving (insert assorted Irish beer names here)?"
I could get into a long discussion about marketing and British ownership and South African production of "Irish" beers and how the number one selling beer in Ireland is Budweiser, etc. But I won't. Instead I'll talk about the words and the philosophy that make up our name and its impact of our beverage menu. Bear with me.
Some history: It may sound silly now, but when we started this thing back in the fall of 2002, there was actually quite a bit of discussion as to what to call it. It had been suggested to us that we should call it something like "The Midwest Irish Fest" or the "Heart Of America Irish Fest" so as to be regionally inclusive and whatnot.
Now, we're regionally proud, but to a man and woman among the festival founders, we love our city with energy and ardor bordering on the obsessive. We love local. And to us, in the end it could be nothing but Kansas City Irish Fest. And we take those first two words just as seriously as we take the last two when we assemble this thing every year. For example, our heritage display this year focuses on Kansas City fire department and the role of Irish Americans and Irish born in its proud history.
That local pride is a big reason why we proudly serve, among other fine products, Kansas City's hometown beer. Always have, since day one and at our two parent festivals as well. It's no exaggeration to say without Boulevard's annual support Irish Fest as we know it wouldn't exist. Is Boulevard brewed in Ireland? Nope. Were you born in Ireland? Probably not. You're both welcome at Irish Fest.
Again this year we will have plenty of ice cold Boulevard beer–including their fantastsic stout–as well as crisp, cold great-tasting-less-filling Miller Lite, white and red wine, Mike's Hard Lemonade, Bailey's Irish Cream and Magner's Cider and Jameson whiskey...from Ireland. And of course lots of soft drinks and water.
So come see us, come thirsty. I'm sure we'll have a whistle wetter that you'll like no matter what your ancestry.