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Irishfest opens for 17th year at La Crosse festgrounds

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The opening day of Irishfest at the Oktoberfest grounds on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022. (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

La Crosse’s Oktoberfest grounds go Irish for this weekend. Crowds gathered there Friday afternoon for the start of Irishfest, as community leaders spoke and a bagpipe band entered the front gate during the opening ceremony.

FILE – Irishfest president Pat Stephens speaks at the festival opening on Friday, Aug. 12, 2022 (PHOTO: Brad Williams)

This is the 17th year of the local festival, which draws big-name Irish entertainers who also perform at other regional festivals during August. Friday’s headline act is Gaelic Storm, performing at 10 o’clock.

Saturday’s schedule includes a new feature for Irishfest, a tug-of-war competition. The United States Tug-of-War Association will have contests throughout the day on Saturday.

The Saturday events also include a 5K run-walk, and a mashed potato eating contest at the southside festgrounds.

A native of Prairie du Chien, Brad graduated from UW - La Crosse and has worked in radio news for more than 30 years, mostly in the La Crosse area. He regularly covers local courts and city and county government. Brad produces the features "Yesterday in La Crosse" and "What's Buried on Brad's Desk." He also writes the website "Triviazoids," which finds odd connections between events that happen on a certain date, and he writes and performs with the local comedy group Heart of La Crosse. Brad been featured on several national TV programs because of his memory skills.

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