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Pewaukee goes Irish with Celtic Fest this weekend

Sept. 19, 2012

This isn't just a little Waterfront Wednesday.

That's what Elaine Kroening, executive director of Positively Pewaukee, says as she describes Celtic Fest, planned for 2 to 10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 22. Kroening said she's expecting 7,000 to 10,000 people to show up for the event.

"I know," she said. "I don't sleep."

The fall fundraising event for the nonprofit organization Positively Pewaukee was never set in stone. They had mixed feelings about last year's Oktoberfest and were open-minded to an Irish festival when their beer vendor suggested it.

Now, Irish beers will be the highlight of the day, and the Chuck Ward Memorial Bar will serve a few big brands, such as Guinness, Harps and Smithwick. Even though it takes a whole two minutes to fill a glass of Guinness, pouring contests or black-and-tan contests are to be expected by these specially trained bartenders.

"The main reason that this started - and this amazes me - is that Guinness beer cannot be served at Irish Fest because of the Miller contract. So they were looking for a place, a large venue, that could serve Guinness," Kroening said.

Irish Fest caught wind of Kroening's plans, and they met a few times to coordinate truly Irish vendors and activities. Milwaukee vendors will sell gifts, jewelry, ceramics, candies and teas. Trinity Irish dancers and Glencastle Irish dancers plan to jig and reel. The Irish Center will host crafts, culture and demonstrations throughout the day. Milwaukee-based, all-family Irish band Leahy's Luck will perform popular folk music and some original tunes, too. The highlight of the evening is a concert at the end of the day by U2 Zoo, a U2 tribute band.

"We really went back and forth on the main band. We were a little afraid to make it pure Irish for the first year, so we're doing U2 Zoo, which is a Bono tribute. So we thought we got the Irish in there, but still a little more rock edge there," Kroening said.

The food won't disappoint either. Designed to mimic Taste of Pewaukee, a hugely successful downtown dining event, Celtic Fest has already cued up some vendors with an Irish flair, all serving for less than $8.

"What's interesting is that Taste is geared more toward adults, and this is geared more toward families, so we have to learn. Look and see what works and bring the families back again," Kroening said.

More information is available at


2:15 to 3 p.m.: Glencastle Irish Dancers

3:30 to 5:30 p.m.: Music by Leahy's Luck

5:45 to 6:30 p.m.: Trinity Irish Dancers

7:15 to 10:30 p.m.: Music by U2 Zoo

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Weekend Happenings

Featured this week:  

North Shore Bank-Taste of Lake Country: 5 p.m. July 29, 4 p.m. July 30, Pewaukee Beach Front, 120 W. Wisconsin Ave., Pewaukee. Headline Friday night is The Toys and Saturday night The Love Monkeys. Free.

Kids from Wisconsin: 7:30 p.m. July 29, Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St., Oconomowoc. Celebrating its 48th show season with a talented group of 33 young performers representing 29 different hometowns across Wisconsin, this year’s tour theme is Sing! Free.

Wisconsin State Frog Jump Championship: 1 p.m. July 30-31, Cory Park, Downtown Dousman, Dousman. Visit  

Catelyn Picco: 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 31, Mama D’s Coffee, 104 W Main St., Wales. Free.

All weekend happenings