It’s the largest Irish festival in Illinois outside of Chicago, going strong for 37 years—but according to Eric Hoadley, no one knew what it meant. “The name was perfect for an Irish festival,” he explains. “‘Erin’ is a poetic name for Ireland, and ‘feis’—pronounced fesh—is Irish for a traditional Gaelic arts and cultural festival.”
Unfortunately, the clever combination was lost on much of the audience—even longtime patrons and vendors. When a marketing study made this clear three years ago, the organizers of Erin Feis knew it was time for a change. “Last year, the tagline ‘Peoria’s Irish Festival’ debuted to help define the event,” Hoadley explains. “This year, the festival’s official name has been changed to the Peoria Irish Festival, with Erin Feis retained as a tagline in support of the new name.”
The festival itself is not changing, adds event co-chair John Martin. “It will still be three great days of upbeat music, delicious food and drink, with a wide variety of shopping and cultural experiences,” he explains. “The only new part is our name… and the more immediate connection we hope it makes.”
The Peoria Irish Fest takes place on the Peoria Riverfront on the last weekend of August. For more information, visit PeoriaIrishFest.com. a&s
I already love the festival's new name. A great event that not only showcases ethnic cultural heritage but includes our city's name, while others have shied away from civic association.