Irish Fest 2015 opens on Friday! I bet you're as ready as we are to light the fuse on our Funlucky 13th annual party. But first, just so we're all on the same page, let's have our annual review of the rules, shall we?
1. I have a big, dumb dog named Dugan. You know where Dugan will spending Irish Fest weekend? Elsewhere. Not even us bigwigs can bring our furry best friends on to the Irish Fest grounds. Dogs, cats, ferrets, wolverines...pets of any kind need to sit this one out, with the exception of legitimate service animals. And it goes without saying that the spider monkey you trained to make beer runs does not fall into the "legitimate service animals" category. It also goes without saying that I'd like to borrow that monkey after the fest.
2. Bring your appetite and thirst. Do not bring coolers, thermoses, bags, flasks, goatskins, bottles or cans filled with outside food and drink. We'll have truckloads of great food of every stripe and oceans of refreshing beverages. You've got enough to worry about without having to pack a weekend's worth of food. Leave it at home for the monkey.
3. As per Missouri state liquor laws-or at least our interpretation of them, underage (under 21) drinkers or people attempting to purchase alcohol for those under 21 will be branded, fitted with shock collars and unceremoniously tossed out on their arses. Plus we'll make fun of the way you were dressed after you're gone. We also reserve the right, and will not hesitate to suspend service to patrons who we believe have had enough. And those good looking, talented, fun-loving volunteer bartenders will not give you free beer no matter how nicely you ask. So don't. Be nice, drink responsibly, don't drink and drive.
4. Bring a comfy lawn chair if you like. Bring a small bumbershoot to protect your pale Celtic hide from the blazing Midwestern sun. Bring a blanket to spread on the lawn. Don't bring a giant canopy, tent or patio umbrella. They tend to block the view of that guy behind you and he looks mean.
5. Your admission ticket is good for the whole day and night that you use it. Come and go as you like. You can get a stamp at the gate to return all day. Maybe pop over to your hotel room for a nice shower. Seriously. You're drawing flies, Sweaty McStinkerson.
6. You know what's fun? Those little Razor scooters. And skateboards. And bikes, unicycles and roller skates. Fun, fun, fun. You know where they're fun? At home. You may not bring any of them onto the Irish Fest grounds.
7. If you're running for office, circulating a petition, raising money for the Committee To Save The Balinese Beer Fetching Monkeys, or passing out brochures proving that the president was actually born on the planet Zorgon 7, don't do it at Irish Fest. No printed materials may be distributed on our grounds without our permission, which we are not going to give you. We're cranky like that.
8. If you happen to be a tiny baby and ride around in a stroller, bring that bad boy along. Bring your favorite grown-up to push it. If you ride around in a wheelchair, we've got a whole staff of people here to help you navigate the terraces. Elevators are available in the parking garages and we have a ramp to make getting from street level to the Terrace Stage level easier. No wheelchair drag racing please, at least until I've had a chance to place a bet.
9. If you have foolishly decided not to heed my advice about booking a discounted hotel room and insist on driving to and from Irish Fest every day, we've got thousands of covered parking spaces right here on the site, including designated handicapped parking. And parking as always is free.
10. If you are looking for something you can't find, have a question you need answered, or a problem you need solved, ask us. The place will be literally crawling with friendly, knowledgeable staff and volunteers. Our highly trained staff have never yet been posed a problem they couldn't solve. Try 'em if you don't believe me. Our senior staff members will be in bright orange shirts with the word "STAFF" in big letters on the back, a big tag around their necks that says "STAFF" on the front and in many cases a big tattoo that says "STAFF" on places you'll have to ask really politely to see. They live to assist you. They are bred and trained from birth in special camps just to make your Irish Fest weekend a pleasant one. Our hundreds of other volunteers and committee members in appropriately labeled white shirts will be everywhere waiting to help make your stay with us the best it can be. Our board of directors in stylish green shirts (see what we did there with the green white and orange shirts?) will be surveying the scene from their upper floor suite, eating bonbons, getting foot massages and sipping cognac...fetched for them, incidentally, by trained monkeys. Don't bother them. They're important people, Paddy. Me, I'll be in the whiskey tent. Or lying prone near it.
11. No weapons, concealed or otherwise are allowed inside our gates or inside the Crown Center complex. And yes, that means you too, Mr. Giant-Sword-Carrying-Mug-On-a-Belt-Kilt-Guy.
12. Above all, have fun. We do this for you. Well, you and the free beer at our monthly meetings.
It's going to be another great year!