Irish Spring Festival Kicks off in Lewis County - WBOY.com: Clarksburg, Morgantown: News, Sports, Weather

Irish Spring Festival Kicks off in Lewis County

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IRELAND -

The 33rd Annual Irish Spring Festival kicked off in Ireland on Sunday with a flag raising ceremony and pot luck dinner.

The festival has been a tradition since the 1980's.

"The first one was in 1982, we were thrown out a challenge to do something to show why we were called 'Ireland.' So the CEOS Club took the challenge and started the festival and this is the 33rd year," said Sandy King, President of the Shamrock CEOS Club.

King said Ireland, which has a population of about 60, brings in large numbers of people to the small town.

"If we get pretty weather we may have 1,500 to 2,000 on the big day.  Then of course there are a lot of people different days," said King.

King said a lot of the people that come to Ireland are originally from the area, and use the festival as a homecoming.

One of those former residents is Jo Loudin who now lives in Indiana.

"Because its home. I haven't been home in several years, and this will probably be my last big hoorah, I just wanted to come home and see everyone," said Loudin.

On Sunday the flags were raised and there was a dinner held, but King said the real festival starts on Thursday and features a week full of activities.

"Saturday we go all day. We have crafters here, we have harp workshops, road bowling, parade, play bingo that evening, a talent show, we do something all day long," King said.

King said the festival wraps up on Thursday March 20, where spring is welcomed in.

Even though the festival offers a lot of activities, Loudin said she just enjoys being home.

"Just seeing everybody and the fellowship that you have with one another. It's great," Loudin said.

 For a full list of events and a schedule click here.