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Penn-Mar Irish Festival set for June 18

When the Screaming Orphans arrived at the Markets at Shrewsbury for the Penn-Mar Irish Festival last year, a crowd swarmed their van.

“They have some very loyal fans who travel a great distance to see them,” festival organizer Mary Yeaple said about the Irish band. Yeaple recalled another sign of the fans’ dedication: many of them were wearing T-shirts from the band’s Ireland tour from earlier that year.

That fan following is expected again this year when the Screaming Orphans return to perform at the 16th annual Penn-Mar Irish Festival.

The festival will be held at the Markets at Shrewsbury on the third Saturday in June. And as in previous years, Celtic festival foods and vendors offering Irish goods including clothing, jewelry, books and more will be available.

But this year, instead of setting up on the parking lot, the festival will be set up the grassy grounds of the markets, Yeaple said. That change, she said, will provide a bit more room for the festival, and attendees are encouraged to bring lawn chairs and blankets.

Music is a big draw to the festival, which typically attracts about 2,000 people. In addition to the Screaming Orphans, a few other acts will return this year.

Burning Bridget Cleary, who was slated to fill in for the Screaming Orphans in 2015 when they nearly didn’t make it out of Ireland because of a visa issue, will perform. The band’s new album, “These Are The Days,” was released in late-2015 and enjoyed a No. 1 spot on the Folk-DJ charts.

Yeaple said Burning Bridget Cleary was “fantastic” during their 2015 performance.

The Kilmaine Saints, of Harrisburg, are back at the festival this year. According to the band’s website, they bring “blistering, high-energy live sets that keep people singing along, stomping their feet, lifting their pints and shouting for more.”

New performers to the festival include Down By The Glenside, who play regularly around Central Pennsylvania, according to the band’s website.

Also new this year is Mickey Spain, one third of the band Makem and Spain. Spain has been writing and performing folk music as a solo artist and as part of the band Makem and Spain for about 20 years, Yeaple said. But in recent years, he's focused his attention to writing children's songs. He will perform a children’s set and an all-ages set at the festival.

Other new elements in the children's area this year include storyteller Maggie O'Grady, with whom children will be encouraged to interact and participate in the storytelling process, and a bounce house.

Four Irish dance groups will also entertain festival attendees and members of the Susquehanna Pipes & Drums will perform during the festival.

If You Go

What: Penn-Mar Irish Festival

Where: On the grounds of the Markets at Shrewsbury in southern York County, 12025 Susquehanna Trail, Glen Rock, PA 17327

When: 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday, June 18

Cost: Admission is $10 in advance or $15 at the gate, though children age 15 and younger are free. 

How to get tickets: Tickets are available online through up until 48 hours prior to the festival opening. In-person ticket sales are available at The Markets at Shrewsbury.