12th Annual Weston Irish Festival

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St. Paddy’s Day may still be months away, but that shouldn’t stop you from attending the 12th annual Weston Irish Festival at O’Malley’s Pub in Weston, Mo. this weekend.
Taking place Oct. 14, 15 and 16, the Weston Irish Festival is a one of a kind event in the Midwest. For three days the spirit of the Irish will be on spectacle with more than 20 Irish bands, several local hand-crafted brews and tasty traditional Irish fare.
O’Malley’s Pub was opened in 1988 by the O’Malley family. In 1993, Missouri Western class of 1988 alumnus, Sean O’Malley, took over full-time management of the pub until leasing it to Corey Weinfurt and Mike Coakley in 2005. Since 1988, O’Malley’s Pub has been the best place in the Midwest to enjoy old-style Irish music and great food.
This year will be one of the best musical line-ups the festival has ever seen. The Screaming Orphans from County Donegal, Ireland and Enter the Haggis from Toronto, Canada are a couple of the acts traveling a long distance to be part of the festival. Other notable acts include The Mickey Finns, Flannigan’s Right Hook, The Kelihans and Bob Reeder and numerous other will be performing on three stages throughout weekend.
“Our philosophy has always been to get the highest quality bands we can and couple that with great food and drinks and our one-of-a-kind venue,” O’Malley said. “The quaint, rural setting of Weston and the underground cellars of O’Malley’s create an atmosphere that bands don’t often see.”
Since the Weston Irish Festival started, attendance has steadily grown to about 10,000 attendees in 2010. O’Malley contends that the first five years the festival experienced slow growth, but a couple of years of great weather took the event to the next level.
Bob Reeder helped start the Festival and has performed at the Irish festival since its creation. He has become a permanent fixture at O’Malley’s for the last 25 years. His favorite part of the event is performing for the festival goers. For those who have never seen Reeder perform, he offers a little insight on what to expect.
“Fun and Irish song, a toast, a story, a joke and more. Who knows?” said Reeder. “I never plan a set. I just look out into the audience and decide what to play or do next.”
Reeder feels that O’Malley’s presents the best Irish festival in the Midwest. He states that it’s a small event compared to some, but the intimacy of the venue makes it a gem of Irish festivals.
“The line-up of Irish performers combined with the brewery cellars, the outdoor courtyard stage, food and drink, dancing and piping, all create an old world Irish atmosphere that everyone should experience, especially if they can’t go to Ireland this year,” said Reeder.
Missouri Western student Franke McDowell has attended the Weston Irish Festival for the last five years. Her favorite part of the festival is the music. One of her favorite bands that are performing at this year’s Irish festival is Flannigan’s Right Hook. She enjoys sitting outside at the courtyard stage when the weather cooperates.
“It’s a unique experience and really incredible time!” said McDowell. “There’s also lots of vendors set up, so you can get a feel of the real Irish history and heritage.”
For a good time this weekend, head on down to the Weston Irish Festival and have a two-pull pint of Guinness with O’Malley’s very own DropKick Ale, or a fresh bowl of their famous Irish stew or Dublin coddle. The festival opens Friday at 6 p.m. and runs throguh Sunday at 11 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the gates for $10 per person. Children under the age of 14 are admitted free.

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