Photos: Michigan Irish Music Festival brings the Emerald Isle to Muskegon

Heritage Landing transformed into a sea of green last weekend, when the Michigan Irish Music Festival brought huge and energetic crowds to downtown Muskegon for its 18th annual event.

The wildly popular festival, which ran from Thursday, Sept. 14 through Sunday, Sept. 17, featured days packed with Irish music, food, drink, history, a limerick contest, Celtic Highland games, Gaelic language lessons (we can now say more than just sláinte), and more. When we weren’t tapping our own feet to the music, watching the “Celtic Beard Bout,” or hanging out at the “Whiskey Snug,” we snapped the following photos.

Festival goers pack the Irish market to buy everything from kilts to Irish soda bread.


Numerous local eateries participated in the festival, including Spring Lake’s Village Bakery.

There was a whole lot of amazing green attire, but this shiny sport coat just may have been our favorite.

Numerous tents were located throughout the festival, including the welcome center, spaces for musicians to perform, and more.

Danny Burns’ band was part of an impressive lineup of musicians that kept crowds tapping their feet.

More from the Danny Burns performance.

Audiences were thrilled with performances from the Muskegon Regional Police Pipes & Drums, which formed in 2002 and includes police and non-police members who want to celebrate Highland music and culture.

More from the Police Pipes & Drums.

The police band wears the ancient Hume tartan with the permission of the Clan Hume. This is in honor of Thomas Hume, one of the civic leaders of early Muskegon.

Performers from the Ardan Academy of Irish Dance.

For those who tired from all that dancing, there was plenty of space to spend time eating and drinking by Muskegon Lake.

Crowds wait in line for a variety of food, including from The Curragh, Fatty Lumpkin’s Sandwich Shack, and McGovern’s Catering, among others.

The fish and chips from Holland’s Curragh Irish Pub.

The North Muskegon Fiddlers entertain festival goers.

Steve Smith, left, speaks about traditional Irish wakes during the festival.

Smith and his wife, Cathy Jo, both of Ohio, travel the country, informing people about the history of traditional Irish wakes.

Festival attendees walk along Heritage Landing.

Many tent walls featured photos from Ireland.

More goods from the Irish Market.

Beard-sporting festival goers got a chance to show off their facial hair during the Celtic Beard Bout.

Even the littlest festival goers had fun at the beard competition.

Muskegon’s Scott Sheldon performs during the beard competition.

There was much dancing to be had as Scott Sheldon sang.

For more photos of this year’s Michigan Irish Music Festival, you can check out the festival’s Facebook and Instagram pages.

Anna Gustafson is the editor of the Muskegon Times. You can connect with her by emailing or on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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