Kansas City Irish Festival takes on new virtual format, says they may also feature smaller in-person events

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Irish Festival at Crown Center is shifting how it will celebrate this year. 

The theme for KC Irish Fest this year is “Reimagining Irish Fest,” which means out with the traditional three days of celebrating at Crown Center and in with a new plan.

Reimagining Irish Fest may include virtual activities and smaller, Irish-themed, local community events. 

It’s a plan that KC Irish Fest and FOX4 are working on together.

The decision to cancel the traditional festival was a tough one on the board of 150 volunteer members, but it was necessary because of the times we are living in right now. 

If you’re one of the thousands who have enjoyed the Irish fest over the past 18 years, you know that the festival is formed around the music and musicians.

The plan is to do something to benefit the musicians, the stage hands, the behind- the-scenes people who make it happen. 

But something Irish will happen over Labor Day weekend.

Keli O’Neill Wenzel said the traditional KC Irish Fest will be back one day but for now the Irish are going to be creative because true to Irish heritage they are a resilient bunch.

“We don’t want to say too much now because we don’t want anybody’s hopes to get put up right now,” O’Neill Wenzell said. “The good news is we working with our friends at FOX4, and they’re getting creative with us. We think we’ve got something in the cooker for that we just hope everybody stands by.”

Irish Fest organizers issued the following statement Thursday:

“The board of directors and officers of The Kansas City Irish Festival have come to the difficult decision that the festival we all know and love will not be able to take place in its traditional format this year. This decision was made taking into consideration the countless moving parts it takes to plan an event of this size combined with the unknown restrictions and guidelines for large gatherings that may be in place later this year. And as always, the safety and health of our friends and patrons is foremost in our minds.

Obviously, this is not an outcome any of us wanted. However, true to our Irish heritage, we’re a resilient bunch. Our festival leadership is hard at work finding new ways to bring the soul of Ireland to the heart of America over Labor Day weekend. As Kansas City begins to reopen throughout the coming weeks and months, we will be reimagining our 18th Irish Fest as a series of smaller, Irish-themed, locally-focused community experiences in order to provide a safe and healthy environment for our patrons. We’ll keep you informed as plans develop.
If you booked a room in the Irish Fest block at either the Westin in the Sheraton, your reservation will be automatically cancelled by the hotel. Please note: The Kansas City Feis has not been cancelled. If you plan on attending the feis, you will be notified by the feis with instructions on making a new hotel reservation.

Thank you sincerely for your understanding, patience, and support in these uncertain times. We hope to see you soon.”

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