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Mahoning Valley Irish Festival – Youngstown

The Mahoning Valley Irish Festival is an Irish festival hosted by Penguin City Brewing Company where there are local vendors, food and Irish music and dancing entertainment. The green is greenest near the main stage in the back of the festival.

2024 DATE: TBA
Location: Penguin City Brewing Company
460 E Federal St
Youngstown, OH 44503
Website: https://www.facebook.com/MVIrishFestival

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The following post documents my experience on July 21, 2023.

Festival Structure

The Mahoning Valley Irish Festival is a festival that takes place at, or is hosted by, the Penguin City Brewing Company.

My understanding is that Penguin City has been willing to host the event and collaborate with the festival and, thanks to what Penguin City can offer (space, drink etc.), it turns out to be a good fit.

The festival covered three areas of Penguin City: the outside area, the inner bar area and the upper back room area. Interestingly enough, as I passed through these areas, the festival got progressively more Irish.

Therefore, instead of areas, I’m going to call them layers and break them up accordingly to give you a better idea of my experience.

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Layer 1

Just past the admission/ticket counter, you enter into Layer 1.

Layer 1 consisted primarily of a local vendor market. Offerings weren’t strictly Irish in nature but many gift vendors had Irish elements.

Oliver’s Treasure, for example, had a “Welcome Luck” Shamrock sign among the other decorative home and yard signs available.

Kenzie Kay, meanwhile, had Irish flag heart as well as Shamrock earrings.

Krispies by Vel had a Dark Chocolate Guinness Treat.

And, while I’m not sure if there was any Connemara marble available at the Green Moon Goddess table, she did have some Celtic Spirit cards on the table – and she was giving readings – so definitely points for that.

After that, the Irish connections pretty much stopped.

Granted there were Irish beverages…

…and delicious, healthy (even green) nectars (Deep Roots)…

…but none of the food trucks sold Irish food.

Many of the trucks, instead, sold Middle Eastern and Mediterranean/Italian fare.

So it just didn’t feel exactly Irish, until I moved to Layer 2.

Layer 2

Layer 2 took place in the larger area around the bar.

Right away, you were hit with a sign to remember why you there.

There was decor.

There was an Irish music stage.

And there were Irish accessories.

The green tide was rising.

Due to the space in this area, there wasn’t a lot of room for vendors, but they were able to fit a basket raffle along one wall…

…vendors that offered Irish gifts (Finnegan’s Cottage) and natural organic soaps (Our Farm Skin Care)…

…and a genealogical station by The Ohio Genealogical Society (Mahoning County Chapter).

But signs beckoned for me to continue on…

…up some stairs and ahead…

…to the magical door that took you to Layer 3.

Layer 3

Welcome to Layer 3.

Along with the extra bar of Irish beverages that accompanied the room…

…a main stage of Irish music and dancing…

…and a fair amount of guests in green…

…the vendors really made it clear that you were at an Irish festival.

Along with all the Irish T-shirts and hats, vendors sold travel and landscape imagery from Ireland (Celtic Girl Travels Photography), carved wooden Irish decor (Burning Oaks Woodworking), and all sorts of other cool Irish knickknacks to help support the Burke School of Irish Dance.

And if that didn’t do it for you, you could step outside (just beyond the open doorways of Layer 3 – maybe Layer 4?)…

…where Kravitz Deli had a table set up…

…where they prepared Irish sandwiches…

…making the music back in Layer 3…

…even more enjoyable.

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