In July the Colorado Irish Festival enjoyed a financial, cultural, and musical success. Featuring world class entertainers like Gaelic Storm, Solas, The Elders and Cathie Ryan this year”s festival drew 32,000 visitors or a 50% increase over last year. In its 14th year the Co President Kacey O”Connor took no bows. Instead, as usual, she pointed to others. “The Festival”s success is largely due to the visionaries, 14 years ago, that started the event. Without them and their fanatical determination we would never be where we are now. We have 400 volunteers tirelessly committed to the festival. We are expanding and hopefully improving the Festival each year. Ciaran (Ciaran Dwyer the other Co-President) and I get the accolades but really it”s the management team and the volunteers that are responsible for our success.” The festival made two changes this year and one caused a mild controversy. First of all the old smaller location in Clement Park became too congested. The festival management team decided to move west in the park to a larger area with an amphitheatre. The change presented a few logistical challenges but the new site worked well and the guests enjoyed it. The second decision was the selection of Coors as exclusive vendor for beer sales. Kacey explains. “In reality the decision was a no-brainer. Coors offered us a significant contribution. Their people are fabulously cooperative and huge supporters of the festival. Their contribution helps us bring the world renowned talent to the festival.” A visit to Kacey”s store reminds one of a visit to a store in a small village in Ireland. It”s quaint, clean, well stocked with merchandise and staffed with warm friendly people. Daughter Lillie helps with managing as well as purchasing dance outfits, shoes and wigs. As Kacey puts it “Lillie is tuned into what young girls want in their dance outfits. She is invaluable in our purchasing.” Humor seems to surround Kacey. On a recent Saturday a huge middle age gentleman came to the store to connect with his newly discovered Scottish roots. After browsing for awhile he settled on a kilt. Returning from the change room he proudly pranced around the store. Lillie saw the customer and almost collapsed trying not to laugh. He had put the kilt on backwards. She rushed to her mother and Kacey diplomatically approached the egotistical customer with “that looks fabulous on you and it”s surely the right size but I think it would look much better turned around.” The customer sheepishly returned to the changing area, turned the kilt around and left with his first kilt. Charming, hard working, feisty and fun loving, she is a credit to the Irish community.

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