Half Way to St Patrick’s Day in Western Missouri

The ninth annual Kansas City Irish Fest took place over Labor Day weekend, September 2-4, at the Crown Center Square in Downtown Kansas City. The Kansas City Irish Fest celebrates the city’s deep Irish roots with seven music stages featuring traditional music and Celtic rock from international, national and locally-known bands such as Gaelic Storm, Scythian, Kila, The Killdares and hometown Celtic rockers and the city’s favorite band, The Elders. The Irish Fest also features a comedy stage, heritage displays and workshops, shopping, ethnic food, a massive area just for kids and the city’s largest outdoor Catholic Mass on Sunday morning.

Kansas City Irish Fest has been named the “Best Festival” in Kansas City and the “Best Ethnic Festival” many times over in the Kansas City Convention & Visitors Association’s Visitor’s Choice Awards. The Kansas City Irish Fest is also the third-largest Irish festival in the nation, with more than 100,000 people attending in 2010 and with reports that 2011 surpasses all previous attendance records. This is a great place to meet Hibernian brothers from throughout the Mid-West who were working the festival and enjoying all the great entertainment.

Weston, Missouri, founded in 1837, is just 30 minutes north of Kansas City, and 30 minutes south of St. Joseph. The town of Weston was the boyhood home of Buffalo Bill Cody and is the home to the Weston Irish Festival at O’Malley’s Pub, founded in 1842, where the Festival was celebrated October 14th through the 16th in 2011.

The Weston Irish Festival began in 2000 and has grown to a three-day event of all things Irish. The Irish Fest brings over 10,000 festival goers to this town of a little over 1,000 on the three-acre property that encompasses O’Malley’s Irish Pub, American Boman Restaurant and the Weston Brewing Company.

The fest served delicious Irish fare, had 15 acts on four stages, including many of the premiere acts in Irish music. Headlining this year’s event were the Screaming Orphans, The Elders, Enter the Haggis, Barleyjuice and The Mickey Finns. In addition, many local Irish entertainers, Irish dancers, and marching bands, the St Joseph, Missouri, Hibernians have been helping work the festival since its inception in 2000.

No trip to Kansas City, Mo., would be complete without stopping at Browne’s Irish Market established in 1887 noted as North America’s oldest Irish business and proclaimed this by the Irish Trade Board. It is considered to be Kansas City’s oldest retail business. When they first opened, proprietors Ed and Mary Flavin, both immigrants from County Kerry, conversed with locals and traded pennies for cured hams and embroidered pieces of lace. Flavins Market, at 27th and Jefferson in the front of the family home, was a place for neighbors to meet. It was Ed and Mary’s aim to provide quality food, wares and Irish hospitality to their many customers and friends. Accommodating their growing needs, in 1901 the Flavins built a new store on the outskirts of town — at the corner of 33rd and Pennsylvania. Their daughter, Margaret, and her husband, James R. (Jim) Browne, also from Kerry, continued the family business after their marriage in 1915, keeping the same friendly atmosphere. Now, the fifth generation can be seen bringing Irish smiles to customers and carrying on the tradition at the store. Kerry Browne and her husband, John McClain, have owned Browne’s Irish Market & Deli since July 1, 1981, when they bought it from her mother, Margie Blake Browne. The store is split between the deli and a section in the building that sells Irish imports, Irish foods, clothing and house wares. St Patrick’s Day brings long lines of customers and also to their street festival held every June.

Browne’s Market is located at 3300 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, MO. 64111     phone. 816.561.0030.