30th Anniversary Manhattan Irish Fest Hosted by Irish American Society of County Will

Manhattan is getting ready to explode Friday and Saturday with the 30th Annual Manhattan Irish Fest, March 1 & 2. The Irish American Society of County Will (IASCW) is once again the official fest host in cooperation with the Village of Manhattan.

Here are the highlights:

  • Live entertainment under main tent Friday night (5pm to 10 pm) and Saturday (noon to 10 pm)
  • Irish music, Irish dancers, bagpipes
  • Parade Saturday 2nd at 11 a.m., led by runners in the Irish Fest 5K race
  • Kids area at St. Joe’s School, includes all-ages dance Friday night 6-9pm, and an all-ages fun fair Saturday
  • Craft Fair Saturday 9 am to 3 pm at Manhattan Junior High with more than 50 vendors
  • Entrance buttons are $10 in advance or $15 at the gate
  • More than $400k distributed back to the community via volunteers, raffle tickets & scholarships
  • Shennanigans all over town in bars, restaurants, and businesses
  • Top entertainers include Larkin & Moran Brothers, Reilly, Finbar McCarthy, Coyote Riot, Whiskey Mick, along with local favorites John Condron and Allison Flood’s new band, Crooked Tails
  • Mike McHugh Scholarship winners to be awarded to two local high school students
  • Free shuttles Saturday from noon to 10 pm with a shuttle cop on board from CD Liquors (at north) to Roadhouse 52 (to south) with stops along the way (two shuttle busses running)
  • Free parking at the shuttle stops
  • Tristar Cabinets, Hawk Auto and Lakesore Beverage main sponsors
  • Manhattan Irish Fest – photo credit – Erin Gallagher

Kids Area:

St. Josephs School will be hosting an all-ages dance on Friday from 6PM to 9PM at the school gym. Music will be provided by DJ Don Gray, concessions, and a photo booth.  On Saturday they will be hosting an all-ages fun fair from Noon – 4:00PM. A magic show will take place at 1:00 PM and various crafts, games and activities will be available for children of all ages. Entrance button required.

Manhattan Irish Fest – photo credit – Erin Gallagher

Craft Fair:

The Craft Fair will take place on Saturday from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM at Manhattan Junior High School located on Smith Rd. Entrance button required.

Entrance Buttons:

Entrance buttons are $10 in advance and $15 at the gate. Net proceeds go back into the community to organizations and clubs that provide volunteers. Each organization donates time to promote the fest, help run the fest, and sell raffle tickets.  Your attendance helps to award scholarships, brightens military lives, create programs for area children and promote local businesses.

Parade & 5K Race:

The always popular parade will begin at 11am on Saturday, March 2nd beginning on North Street then proceeding to State Street.  The parade is led by runners participating in the Irish Fest 5K.  The Prairie State Roadrunners will start the parade again by hosting the Manhattan Irish Fest 5-K race. This race continues to be recognized as a USATF timed course.


The Manhattan Irish Fest Committee is strictly made up of volunteers from the IASCW and local community members and groups.  Fest committee members volunteer their time and dedication to ensure that Manhattan Irish Fest succeeds.

Michael J. McHugh Memorial King & Queen Scholarships

The Manhattan Irish Fest has awarded $37,000 in scholarships since 2004.

  • Each receives $1000 toward college tuition of their choice
  • Mike McHugh was founding member of IASCW, and co-founder of Manhattan Irish Fest

About Mike McHugh:

In 2018 the Manhattan Irish Fest Committee official announced that the King & Queen Scholarship will forever be named the “Michael J. McHugh Memorial King & Queen Scholarship”.  Mike was a lifelong Manhattan area resident and business owner who dedicated himself to the community.  He was a founding member of the IASCW in 1981 and one of the original founding organizers of the Manhattan Irish Fest.  Mike gave back to his community in many ways and loved to talk about his Irish Heritage.