This weekend’s North Texas Irish Festival Brings out the Irish, the Irish-for-a-day, and the South Central Irish Wolfhound Club
The North Texas Irish Festival, one of the largest Irish festivals in the United States, returns March 3-5, 2017 to celebrate 35 years of music and Irish culture. This year’s theme, Texas Grown – Irish Roots, highlights amazing music, dance, and cultural talent in and around our region and incorporates the beautifully, rich tradition of Irish and other Celtic influences. Located in Fair Park, the event is presented by the Southwest Celtic Music Association, an all-volunteer, non-profit association that fosters the great tradition of Irish culture in North Texas.
In addition to music, dancing, whiskey tastings, blacksmithing demonstrations, horse displays, Celtic storytelling, Shepherd’s pie, Irish stew, and chef demonstrations, one of the many things I love about the North Texas Irish Festival is their dedication to animal rescue groups. In fact, it’s the largest gathering of animal rescue groups of any festival in Dallas. PAW-SOME!
Years ago, while attending the festival for the first time, I immediately was drawn to how dog-friendly it was. There, I feasted my eyes upon a beast of great size that I had never seen before. A majestic and dignified animal – the Irish Wolfhound.
The North Texas Irish Festival, as you can imagine, is the perfect place to educate and bring awareness of the breed. The South Central Irish Wolfhound Club, a non-profit comprised of Irish Wolfhound owners in Texas and surrounding states, will be on-site to communicate its mission of safeguarding the wolfhound. The organization takes great pride in the Celtic weekend and being able to pay homage to this regal breed.
The South Central Irish Wolfhound Club is comprised solely of volunteers, which even includes a veterinarian on their club board. Led by Ann Sury, the Rescue Chair for the club, the non-profit rescues and rehabilitates wolfhounds in need from various sources including hoarding situations like the 73 rescued two years ago in Galveston County, which saw club members as well as volunteers across the United States, work tirelessly with the Houston SPCA and the Irish Wolfhound Club of America to make happy endings possible. Hounds are also rescued from shelters across the state as well as owner-surrenders due to unfortunate circumstances such as divorce, financial difficulties, owner health issues, death of owner, etc. The Rescue Committee then addresses medical needs for each dog, fosters, evaluates, rehabilitates and socializes them. When the dogs are spayed, neutered, microchipped, and have all their needs met, the South Central Irish Wolfhound Club will take the necessary steps to rehome them. Each home that a dog is placed undergoes a rigorous application and review process to ensure the best home possible for the hound. New foster and adoptive homes are provided a mentor and educational support from the club.
Irish Wolfhound owners are passionate about the breed and appreciate the opportunity to share their stories, support other owners and educate the public about these magnificent hounds. To learn more or volunteer with the South Central Irish Wolfhound Club, visit sciwc.org. As a small non-profit, they also welcome much-needed donations.
So, load up Fido in the car and head to Fair Park this weekend. While you’re enjoying the festival, be sure to check out the South Central Irish Wolfhound Club, the many other animal rescues, and pet-friendly shopping. Then, stroll around and enjoy Celtic culture first-hand. You’ll fall in love with the North Texas Irish Festival.
IRISH WOLFHOUNDS AT A GLANCE
Energy/Size: Large stature, low energy
Personality: Calm, dignified, kindly; courageous but not aggressive
Appearance: Rough-coated, muscular, adults weigh 100-125 pounds and range from 30” to 34” in height
Care: Requires regular brushing. Because of large size, the breed requires more room and exercise. Like all breeds there may be some health issues, including heart conditions and cancer. However, for the most part, the majority of Irish Wolfhounds are healthy dogs.
Lifespan: 6.5 years
ABOUT THE 35TH NORTH TEXAS IRISH FESTIVAL
When: Friday, March 3 – Sunday, March 5, 2017
Where: Fair Park, 1121 First Avenue, Dallas, TX 75210
Hours: Friday: 6 to 11 PM; Saturday, 10:30 AM to 11:30 PM; Sunday, 11:30 AM to 7:30 PM
Tickets are available at NTIF.org and at DFW-area Tom Thumb stores.
- Friday night: FREE from 6 to 7 PM; $10 after
- Saturday and Sunday: At the gate, a one-day ticket is $20 on Saturday and $15 on Sunday, two-day ticket is $25, and weekend pass is $30.
- Children 11 and under FREE when accompanied by adult family member.
- Tickets for seniors over 65 or current military members (with valid military ID) receive $5 off.
- Dogs are allowed in on a short leash and a $1 donation is requested, which will be given to animal rescue groups supported by the festival.
- Leprechauns (in full ceremonial dress and carrying a pot of gold) are FREE.
Learn more: NTIF.org