Hanceville gearing up for Irish Festival

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Tracy and Shawn Burgess were two of the colorful attendees at last year’s Hanceville Irish Festival. (Christy Perry for The Cullman Tribune)

HANCEVILLE, Ala.- Founded by Irish settlers in 1832, the city of Hanceville will celebrate its Irish heritage this Saturday with the third annual Hanceville Irish Festival. The festival is organized by Friends of the Festival, a local nonprofit led by Tim Burney and Nolan Bradford. The festivities will begin at 9 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. in downtown Hanceville. 

This year’s festival will feature live Irish music and dancing, arts and craft vendors, games, inflatables and more fun activities for all ages.

Said Bradford, “We’ve got three bands coming up and over 20 vendors so far. I just hope the rain doesn’t come!” 

Burney has been busy lining up the entertainment for this year’s festival.

“We have the same dancers from Huntsville and musical groups,” he said. “One thing that is different is a new feature for the kids. J2C’s all-terrain train is a new addition to the festival. We will have souvenirs, T-shirts and food vendors there.” 

The bands scheduled to perform at this year’s festival include: 

  • Chuck Carpenter and Tommy Chapman: 11 a.m.-noon
  • A Shamrock in Kudzu: 12:30-1:30 p.m.
  • Black Market Haggis: 2-3:30 p.m.
  • O’Faolain Academy of Irish Dance: 3:30-4 p.m.
  • Jam sessions (open to anyone) 4-5 p.m.

 

Bulldogs Country Cook’N will be serving a delicious Irish lunch. Following the festival, the restaurant will be hosting an Irish-themed murder mystery dinner with the Southern Ghost Girls. Tickets for the murder mystery dinner can be purchased by visiting the event page at www.facebook.com/events/s/hanceville-al-st-paddys-murder/656338051870487/.

Mayor Kenneth Nail is excited for the festival.

“We love to have every different kind of event in Hanceville that we can have and give the folks something to do,” he said. “It’s going to have some authentic Irish music there, which is one thing I like about it. My heritage is Irish actually.” 

Nail shared Bradford’s concerns, saying, “We are just hoping that the rain holds off. I know those guys have built a little different stage. They will probably close off some streets Friday night to get ready for it.”

The stage will be set up on Bangor Street Friday evening so expect the street to close sometime Friday. Bangor and Commercial Streets will be closed for the duration of the festival. 

Burney added, “The idea was really a music festival originally when we started talking about it five years ago. We certainly want more things there for everybody. We also invite everyone to bring their dogs and dress them up in their Irish gear. Come out and celebrate our Irish heritage.”

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Christy Perry

christy@cullmantribune.com