Not that I'd complain about an excuse to booze it before noon--I usually find there aren't enough--but St. Patrick's Day does have its shortcomings if we want to fully understand the sacrifices and celebrate the contributions made by the Irish to U.S. culture and society. Mixed in among the upbeat jigs and reels of Celtic folk music, one will find heart-wrenching tales about the loss of families and homeland, as well as the hardships of immigration during the 19th Century. Many sailed here to escape British oppression, only to get stuck with with low-wage jobs mining coal, building railroads or farming someone else's plot of land. A week before we descend like locusts on the city's supply of Guinness, you might try a more proper observance of Irish culture at the North Texas Irish Festival this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Fair Park. The event features a packed schedule of performers including traditional and modern Celtic bands, literature readings and dance troupes. You'll know they're authentic because their names have funny vowel combinations. Tickets to the event are $10 to $15 for single-day passes and $25 to $30 for multi-day passes; children 15 and younger get in free with an adult. For more information, visit ntif.org.
Fri., March 6; Sat., March 7; Sun., March 8, 2009