Vankleek Hill’s Wee Irish Fest is back for the first time in two years this Sunday, March 19.

The annual festival was last held on March 15 of 2020 – just as the COVID-19 pandemic was beginning.

The 2023 edition of the Wee Irish Fest will be held entirely at the Creating Centre in Vankleek Hill, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. If weather permits, some of the activities will be held outdoors in the Phil Arbor Memorial Garden. Both the Creating Centre and the garden are located at 11 High Street in Vankleek Hill (corner of Main Street and Highway 34).

Local acoustic rock band 50 PROOF will play from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. and will include classic Irish folk tunes with a rock ‘n roll spin in their performance. The Vankleek Hill Old Tyme Fiddlers will take centre stage from 2:30 to 4 p.m. inside the Creating Centre.

“We want everyone to bring their dancing shoes,” said Samme Putzel of Excellent Events, which is organizing the festival. “Everyone is in the mood to celebrate spring.”

Everyone is welcome and admission is free for the Wee Irish Fest. While it is being held in Vankleek Hill, the festival will be a party for everyone living in Champlain Township – including pets.

“It will be a party that people can come to and I’m hoping that people will walk up and down the street with their costumes,” Putzel said. “Hopefully people who come to the parade will come to the party and bring their pets.”

Wee Irish Fest organizer Samme Putzel (second from right) of Excellent Events, with members of 50 PROOF at the 2019 Wee Irish Festival. 50 PROOF will be back performing from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the 2023 Wee Irish Festival on March 19. Submitted Photo