Blame who you will for St. Paul's illogical layout, but our capital city owes a lot to its historically prominent Irish population (F. Scott Fitzgerald: 'nuff said). The Irish are celebrated this weekend when the Irish Fair, an event that drew nearly 100,000 attendees last year, returns to Harriet Island for the 31st time. Rife with the Irish and Irish enthusiasts, the fair also has an abundance of activities that go well with that most pervasive of Irish cultural stereotypes: imbibing. Food vendors diverge from typical fair fare with dishes like corned beef and shepherd's pie. The three days of activities also invoke many of Ireland's other ubiquitous associations: There will be sheep herding demonstrations, rugby exhibitions, a poteen moonshine still, the self-explanatory Best Legs in a Kilt competition, and dance performances that draw unabashed comparisons to Riverdance. Music throughout the festival includes Solas, Young Dubliners, Salsa Celtica's unexpectedly successful fusion of Scottish and Latin music, and the most recognizable of all Irish-American bands, Dropkick Murphys. For more info call 952.474.7411 or visit www.irishfair.com.
Fri., Aug. 7, 3-11 p.m.; Sat., Aug. 8, 10 a.m.-11 p.m.; Sun., Aug. 9, 10:30 a.m.-8 p.m., 2009