This story was first published in KCUR’s Creative Adventure newsletter. You can sign up to receive stories like this in your inbox every Tuesday.

Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer, and with it comes Kansas City’s annual Irish Fest, Friday, Sept. 3 through Sunday, Sept. 5 at Crown Center.

In a regular year, the festival draws as many as 80,000 green-wearing revelers. But because of the pandemic, last year’s event saw workarounds such as at-home whiskey flight kits with a link to a virtual tasting, Zoom concerts and online cooking classes.

Irish Fest Executive Director Keli O’Neill Wenzel says this year’s ticket sales are up, but she can’t know for sure how many people will actually attend. What she does know is that the festival should be much closer to its pre-pandemic glory.

Here’s what visitors can expect at Kansas City Irish Fest 2021.

Family Fun

Kansas City Irish Fest 2021

KC Irish Fest

Kansas City Irish Fest continues this year, with socially distanced events for kids and the whole family.

Gone are the days of multiple small tents filled with activities and families gathered close to each other. This year, all activities for kids will be spread out across Washington Park to allow for lots of physical distancing.

There will be a large stage where events such as the Silent Disco will take place. Wenzel explains that the silent disco will be achieved by using wireless headphones tuned to one of two stations. Only people tuned to the same station will be dancing to the same music.

But kids aren’t the only ones who can enjoy the dance — the whole family can join in. “It’s so much fun,” says Wenzel. “We think this is for everyone.” And if you don’t feel like dancing, Wenzel says it’s just as fun to watch.

Other than these changes, watch for old favorites like balloon artists, inflatable obstacle courses, face painting, crafts and a scavenger hunt.

International Music

Kansas City Irish Fest Musicians

KC Irish Fest

A COVID-19 travel ban prevents our Irish friends and musicians from visiting us this year. But KC Irish Fest has found a way to feature Irish musicians and local artists.

As you may know, a travel ban is preventing our Irish friends from visiting from across the pond. This means that, once again, no musicians from Ireland will physically perform at Irish Fest.

But it’s not all bad news! Thanks to a grant from Culture Ireland, 10 bands will entertain festival-goers live on big LED screens on the Miller Lite and Boulevard stages. The lineup includes Maca, Shane Hennessy, Claire Sands, Aoife Scott and We Banjo 3.

And Sunday, at 7 p.m. on the Miller Lite stage, a new tradition continues. Local artists create a live “mix tape” of popular songs by Irish performers, an event that first appeared in 2019. “The idea is that everybody knows the songs,” Wenzel says. Participating artists this year include Calvin Arsenia, Jessica Paige, Ashley Davis and Gaelic Storm.

Keeping With Tradition

Kansas City Irish Fest Breakfast.jpg

KC Irish Fest

One

NEW ORLEANS — In celebration of National Travel and Tourism Week, New Orleans & Company is hosting a Job Fest at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center on Wednesday, May 5.

Bewtwen the hours of 9-11 a.m. and 1-3 p.m., the formerly named New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau is featuring 100 employers including hotels, restaurants and attractions, offering competitive wages, benefits and lifelong career opportunities.

LCMC Health will be onsite providing vaccines.  

“In New Orleans, nothing is more important to the restoration of our economy and $10 billion-hospitality industry than finding talented people for job openings and keeping our workforce safe through vaccines,” stated New Orleans & Company in a media release sent to WGNO to promote the event.

Below is a list of employers looking to fill positions: 

  • Abbott’s Frozen Custard
  • AC Hotel by Marriott New Orleans
  • ACCENT New Orleans
  • Ace Hotel New Orleans
  • Al Copeland Investments
  • Antoine’s Restaurant
  • ASM Global
  • Audubon Nature Institute
  • Baywood Hotels
  • Bobby Hebert’s Cajun Cannon Restaurant
  • BRG Hospitality Group
  • Cafe Beignet
  • Chick-fil-A Harvey & Marrero
  • Chico’s
  • Coach
  • Commander’s Palace
  • Creole Cuisine Restaurant Concepts
  • Dickie Brennan & Company
  • District Donuts Sliders Brew
  • Ernest N. Morial Convention Center
  • Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots
  • Four Seasons New Orleans
  • Francesca’s Collection
  • Ghost City Tours
  • Goodwill Technical College
  • GOPARK
  • GW FINS
  • Hampton Inn New Orleans Convention Center
  • Harrah’s New Orleans Casino & Hotel
  • The Higgins Hotel New Orleans, Curio Collection by Hilton
  • Hilton New Orleans Riverside
  • Holiday Inn Chateau Lemoyne
  • Hospitality Enterprises Inc.
  • Hotel Monteleone
  • Hotel Provincial
  • HRI Properties
  • InterContinental Hotel New Orleans
  • Juan’s Flying Burrito
  • Latter Hospitality [Tujague’s, The Bower, Birdy’s]
  • Le Pavillon Hotel
  • LeBlanc+Smith
  • Legacy Kitchen and OnePack Hospitality Group
  • Link Restaurant Group
  • Mambo’s
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Meril Restaurant
  • Muriel’s Jackson Square
  • New Orleans Marriott
  • New Orleans Police Department
  • NOLA Hotel Group
  • NOPSI Hotel
  • Oceana Grill
  • Olde Nola Cookery
  • ONE11 Hotel
  • Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office
  • Pelican New Orleans
  • Pigeon Catering
  • Premium Parking
  • Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers
  • Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group
  • Rock n Roll Sushi
  • Royal Carriages
  • Royal Praline Company
  • Royal Sonesta New Orleans
  • RPM Pizza
  • Sazerac House
  • Sheraton New Orleans Hotel
  • Springhill Suites by Marriott (Canal St.)
  • Stonebridge – Embassy Suites and Le Meridien Hotels
  • Stumpy’s Hatchet House
  • The Quisby
  • The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans
  • The Roosevelt Hotel
  • The Troubadour
  • The Westin New Orleans
  • Volunteers of America SELA
  • Waffle House
  • Westaff
  • Windsor Court

*Participating employers are subject to change without notice.