This post is sponsored by Irish Fest Milwaukee. All opinions are our own.
I first started going to Irish Fest with my family, before I was married. Two kids later, I think I’ve got it down. Here are my tips to make the most of my favorite festival of the year!
Milwaukee Irish Fest is North America’s largest celebration of Irish music and culture. The four-day festival, which occurs every third weekend in August, showcases more than 100 entertainment acts on 17 stages.
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Only one entry per person. Duplicate entries will be deleted. Giveaway ends Sunday, August 12th , 2018 at 11:59 pm (CST). We will announce the winner on Monday, August 13th.
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A Quick Family Guide to Milwaukee Irish Fest
August 16th – 19th at Henry Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee
Every year Irish Fest welcomes top Celtic bands from Ireland and around the world. In 2018 experience the Nova Scotia the Celtic Heart of North America Showcase, including award-winning cuisine, unique culture and can’t miss musical acts. Plus Irish dancers, live theater, Celtic sports like currach races and Gaelic football, and the largest gathering of Irish vendors in the world will have your family exclaiming “Sláinte” in no time!
2018 Ticket Prices
General Admission – $15 online until August 1 // $20 after August 1 & at the Gates
Senior (60 and Older) – $15 at the Gates only
Thursday (Over 12) – $5 online & at Gates
Children (12 and Under) – FREE
4 Day Pass – $30 until August 1 // $38 after August 1 // Not Available at Gates
(4 Day Pass Available For Order Online Only)
Half Price Friday – $10 online & at Gates
Reserve your tickets HERE!
Discounted Admission Days & Promotions:
- Free admission on Thursday with a donation of school supplies
- Guests can take advantage of Half-Price Friday with tickets for only $10. As an added bonus, guests can avoid the lines and purchase tickets in advance online at IrishFest.com.
- On Sunday, enjoy free admission with a donation of a non-perishable food item by 11 a.m. (Those who donate food items are welcome to stay for the mass beginning at 9:30 a.m. and will receive free admission directly following. Those choosing not to attend the mass will receive a hand stamp for free entry at any point during the day (11 a.m. to 10 p.m.). All non-perishable food items will be donated to Hunger Task Force.
- On Sunday, veterans and military personnel receive free admission, plus one guest. Must provide a valid proof of service at any gate ticket window. Active Military and one guest receive free admission every day of the festival
- On Sunday, college students with a valid student I.D. can enjoy a $3 discount off of General Admission tickets between 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.
- Kids under 12 are always FREE!
When I was first married (pre-kids), I lived in the Third Ward and walked to the festival grounds. Boy, those were the days. Now, however, I live in the suburbs and actually have to drive. Thankfully, we are members of the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum, and one of the member privileges is the ability to pre-buy parking passes for the O’Donnell parking structure. So instead of paying $20, we pay $3. That’s money I can put towards a pint later.
Use SpotHero to Reserve a Parking Spot – Irish Fest has a pretty sweet deal going with SpotHero. Head to the Irish Fest SpotHero Parking page and book a spot with rates up to 50% off the drive-up charge!
If you plan to try your luck at finding a parking spot, you can search for nearby street parking or check out some of the nearby bars and restaurants that will allow parking in their lots and offer a shuttle to the festival grounds.
The folks at Irish Fest do try to keep it affordable, so there are some pretty sweet entrance deals. The best deals are on Thursday and Sunday, where if you bring in a donation, you get in for FREE! Check out the Fast Facts section above for more details on discounts.
Now, when it comes to physically getting in they’re pretty chill, but you still have to go through security. The wheelchair entrances are stroller-friendly and are located at each gate. NOTE: wagons are not allowed in.
If, like me, you have to bring in a diaper bag that resembles a small suitcase, I recommend organizing your stuff in Ziploc bags to make the bag check easier on you and the security staff. Food and drinks cannot be carried in.
Things my Kids Love:
Do not. I repeat, DO NOT miss out on the dogs. The Celtic Canines are easily our family favorite. You’ll get a chance to see different Irish breeds up close and even watch obedience and agility demonstrations.
Along with amazing live performances you can’t see anywhere else, you’ll find authentic Irish food, exciting sporting events, lively Irish dancing and much more. For the little ones there are parades, crafts, children’s tea time, a children’s stage with live entertainment a scavenger hunt and more! Or enter the Kids’ Freckle Contest, the Kids’ Red Hair contest or the Kids’ Leprechaun Contest. And children under 12 are always FREE!
I could make an entire post out of the family friendly activities, but I’m just going to share the ones I’m most looking forward to this year. They are, (in no particular order) the parades, the family passport, and the children’s stage. They are not to be missed and best of they are all FREE!
Music, Music, Music!
Okay, of course, you should see Gaelic Storm. If you don’t know who they are, they were the band from the steerage party in Titanic. They are AWESOME. If, however, your kids are not able to stay up that late and you couldn’t book a sitter, there are plenty of artists throughout the afternoon hours. Personally, I love Ian Gould, the Gleasons, and Tis. For a complete lineup, check here.
With tons of family-friendly offerings, it can be so hard to choose! While the ones above are my favorites, there area plenty more options to choose from, such as:
- Family Passport Families collect stamps for their Pirate Paddy Passports at stops throughout the festival grounds, while making crafts and gathering prizes at each stop.
- Leprechaun Village Be sure to bring your littles to Leprechaun Village. Here they will have the chance to search for gold and become a member of the Leprechaun Kids Club for fun prizes.
- Children’s Area Enjoy activities including Lili-Putt mini golf, the Lego/Mr. Potato Head Area, crafts, Highland games and prizes at the Pot O’ Gold. You won’t want to miss the interactive demonstrations at the John Byrne Stage or the entertainment at the Children’s Stage.
- Children’s Tea Room Sip tea while you listen to an Irish Storyteller.
- Greenwish Village Kids will learn about water conversion through fun, interactive, and ‘green’ games.
- Parades Saturday at 4:30 pm and Sunday at 4 pm, the parade begins at the north end of the grounds. Not only will you get to see Paddy and Molly, but also the Celtic Canines, the pipe and drum units, a monk, a nun, fairies, pirates, vikings and more! So much fun!
- Face Painting There will be a face painting vendor on the grounds! A painted face always adds to the festivities.