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KC Irish Fest Making Big Changes Due to Pandemic

Swapping Huge Crown Center Gathering for ‘Locally Focused’ Events

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Above image credit: Irish Fest takes over Crown Center Labor Day Weekend | Contributed: KC Irish Fest

As a member of Gen Z might say, Kansas City Irish Fest will definitely “hit different” in 2020.

Blame the pandemic.

On Thursday, festival organizers announced that the three-day celebration of Irish culture, which was set for Sept. 4-6, will not take place in its traditional form at Crown Center, as unknowns swirl surrounding the planning of large-scale public gatherings for the foreseeable future.

Instead, Irish Fest, which traditionally welcomes more than 100,000 weekend visitors, will take place in a series of smaller, “locally focused” community experiences.

With more details to come, the long-range decision for the festival’s 18th installment was made with the health and safety of festival-goers in mind during the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“Obviously, this is not an outcome any of us wanted,” a post to the festival’s Instagram page reads. “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.”

The Kansas City Irish Fest was founded in 2003 out of a merger between the Westport and Brookside Irish Festivals and has since brought all things Ireland to Kansas City in the form of live music, dance, food, heritage workshops and other activities. In 2019, KC Irish Fest took home two “Favorite Family Festival” trophies at the 2019 Visit KC Visitors’ Choice Awards.

The festival is nearly all staffed by volunteers.

Hotel bookings made through the festival’s website will be automatically canceled. Further updates on festival changes will be shared via KCIF social media channels in the upcoming months.

Facebook: @KansasCityIrishFest

Twitter: @KCIrishFest

Instagram: @kcirishfest

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