Want to know what's in the "Irish Lasagna" made by the Ladies of St. Patrick's? You'll have to try it, because Stokes McCune, coordinator of the 25th Annual Church Hill Irish Festival, won't divulge the complete recipe. He says, "It includes corned beef, onions, mashed potatoes, Guinness and other ingredients I'm not allowed to provide!"
The dish is a favorite at the festival, planned for March 20 and 21 in front of St. Patrick's Church on North 25th Street. In the last quarter century, the event has grown from its beginnings as a small church fundraiser to become a street party that encompasses four city blocks.
This year's Irish Festival will celebrate the life of Gary Gerloff, vocalist and guitarist of the Gary Gerloff Band, who died soon after last year's event. "His band has played at the festival for as long as I can remember, and he will be greatly missed," McCune says.
In keeping with tradition, the festival will feature Irish musicians, bagpipers and dancers, as well as more than 30 vendors.
A $2 donation will be collected at the entrance; proceeds benefit the St. Baldrick's Foundation, an organization devoted to fighting childhood cancer, and other local causes. The event, organized entirely by volunteers, begins with a parade and runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday. For more information, visit churchhillirishfestival.com.