Annual Connecticut Irish Festival celebrates Irish music and heritage

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NORTH HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The country’s oldest Irish festival was held this weekend at the North Haven Fairgrounds.

People gathered to celebrate Irish music and heritage.

Brooke Bertholf of Oxford said that her family goes to a few feis a year, but loves coming to the Connecticut Irish Festival at the North Haven fairgrounds to perform.

“This one is awesome because it’s an outdoor feis and with the great weather, it’s just great to dance outside,” Bertholf said.

A ‘feis’ is Gaelic for dance competition.

Addison Bertholf said, “It’s not really a sport, but you can stretch your muscles and it feels good to be with other people and dance.”

Related: Pastry chef Jillian Simms makes brown soda bread

News 8’s Stephanie Simoni had the tough job judging the Irish breads competition, and there was even a Gaelic football competition.

The festival has been going on every year since 1962.

Bill Mackey is the Connecticut Irish Festival Chairman. He said, “We like to present the Irish culture to the general community and that’s the whole point of this festival.”

It all benefits the Irish American Community Center in East Haven and draws about 2,000 people over the weekend, including one feis trophy hopeful.

“The food is great,” Brooke Bertholf added. “The Irish gifts are awesome as well and just to be outside on a great summer day it good too.”

Irish eyes, really all eyes we’re smiling with this sunny Sunday.

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