LORAIN — With a little luck o’ the Irish, the 41st annual Lorain International Festival will be a fun-filled and rain-free week.
Actually, luck may not have anything to do with it.
“We’ll be great no matter what,” said festival President Ralph Bruening. “Its success comes from its longevity and the fact that we celebrate Lorain’s greatest strength — its diversity.”
The festival, which is spotlighting Irish heritage this year, kicks off today with free trolley tours through the historic downtown Charleston district provided by the Black River Historical Society. The historical society, which is the spotlight business this year, also will offer free tours of its Moore House Museum.
Among the highlights this year, the newly decorated beer garden at Black River Landing Friday through Sunday has nearly doubled in size from last year, to 3,200 square feet, and will seat 300 people.
More picnic benches will be set up throughout the park, seating an additional 800 people. Irish beers and local wines are also new this year.
To celebrate the spotlight heritage, an Irish Cultural Night featuring exhibits, Irish food and music will be at the Irish Heritage Center, and Irish band Maiden IV will perform during the festival.
This year’s Princess Pageant will feature 20 girls representing 12 nationalities, races and ethnicities vying for the title of International Queen.
The parade, from West 21st Street to West Fifth Street on Broadway in downtown Lorain, will cap the festivities next Sunday and will feature floats and costumes representing the various cultures that comprise the city.
“That’s what people love,” Bruening said. “Marching bands, the costumes, the different cultures — we try to be ethnic and keep it simple.”
Contact Adam Wright at 329-7151 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Noon to 6 p.m. — Black River Historical Society Open House, 309 W. Fifth St., Lorain
Noon to 5 p.m. — Historical Trolley rides
Monday, June 18
8 a.m. — Lorain International Association Breakfast; DeLuca’s Place in the Park, 6075 Middle Ridge Road, Lorain; cost is $10.
The 2007 International Festival princesses will be introduced, each wearing the dress that represents her ethnic heritage. The Irish are the 2007 spotlight nationality, and they are represented at the breakfast through speakers, song and dance. This year’s speaker is Bishop A. James Quinn.
Tickets are available at the Lorain treasurer’s office, Somers Insurance Agency and the Lorain County Visitors Bureau.
7 p.m. — Outdoor band concert, Veterans Park (in case of bad weather, event will be relocated to the Palace Theatre on Broadway.)
Maiden’s IV is this year’s entertainment, with a traditional style of original music performed by four sisters. The International princesses don their ethnic dress and dance to the music along with the audience. Bring along folding chairs for an evening of entertainment. The event is free.
7:15 p.m. — Heritage of Sacred Music, Lorain Palace Theatre. Celebrating the city’s diverse religious, ethnic and cultural backgrounds with an evening of entertainment by bringing sacred music from its many different ethnic cultures. Free.
Irish Cultural Night, Irish Heritage Center, 726 Avon Belden Road, Avon Lake. A night of Celtic music, dance and food along with cultural exhibits.
6 to 7 p.m. — Reception.
7 p.m. – Dinner with entertainment to follow. Cost is $25. For further information call, Mike Briola at (440) 610-5755, IHC office at (440) 933-3413.
7 p.m. — Princess Pageant, Lorain Palace Theatre. Cost is $5 for seniors, $6 in advance and $7 at the door.
Tickets are available from the princesses and Teri Soto at (440) 246-3003.
5 to 11 p.m. — Lorain International Festival and Bazaar, Black River Landing. Admission is $1. There will be more than 40 ethnic food vendors, and ethnic crafts will be for sale in the air-conditioned Train Depot. Throughout the weekend, the International princesses show their pride in their culture as they don their ethnic dress and welcome visitors.
There will be 23 hours of ethnic music, dance and entertainment over the course of the weekend.
8 to 11 p.m. — Music by The New Barley Corn.
Noon to 11 p.m. — Lorain International Festival and Bazaar, Black River Landing. Admission is $1. More than 40 ethnic food vendors and ethnic crafts for sale in the air-conditioned Train Depot.
6:30 to 8 p.m. — Music by North Coast Mix
8 to 11 p.m. – Music by Cruisin’
Dusk: Third annual Parade of Lights on the Black River
Noon to 6 p.m.
Noon — Lorain International Parade, begins at West 21st Street and Broadway and heads north to West Fifth Street and Broadway.
2 to 6 p.m. — International car show west of stage.
5 to 6 p.m. — Music by Maiden’s IV.