Many Iowans are going green today but it has nothing to do with their thoughts on the environment. Saint Patrick’s Day celebrations abound, including the third annual Irish Fest at the State Historical Museum. Maureen Korte, the museum’s special projects director, says the events begin at 1 P.M. and focus on Irish food, music, dancing and culture.
“We have the Flatland Ramblers in our atrium playing all afternoon,” Korte says. “We have the Foy Irish Dancers in our auditorium so you can see step-dancing by beautiful young women. Aran’s Daughters is a harp duo, they both play the harp and sing songs in Gaelic.” There will also be music from the Mackenzie Highlander pipes and drums, while the Weavers and Spinners Guild of Des Moines will spin and talk about the fabrics of Ireland and weaving. Korte says there are several other workshops, including one on Irish dancing, taught by a choreographer.
“We have a genealogy workshop, an All Things Irish workshop done by Jack Lufkin, one of our curators, about everything that’s in our museum that is Irish,” Korte says. “We have Lynn Alex from the Office of the State Archaeologist coming from Iowa City to do a workshop of Medieval Dublin or Viking Dublin.”
A battle flag from the U.S. Civil War that carries 37 stars and the Irish Harp will be inducted at the museum this afternoon. It was carried by Iowans in the war who were of Irish descent. Korte says the old flag is so delicate, it can only be brought out once a year, on St. Patrick’s Day.
“The pipe & drum corps will play for us and induct it while Civil War reinactors guard the flag,” Korte says. “It’s always very festive and fun.” Food at the museum cafe will include: corned beef and cabbage, drummery rice, vegetables, Irish stew and Reuben wraps. The events are free and open to the public. For more information, see the State Historical Museum website.