Living and promoting Irish and Irish-American culture in the Southern California area. Its primary goal is to present and preserve our Irish culture by sponsoring events that will promote our “Irish dance, music, theatre, language, sports and all other aspects of our heritage.”
The BIG Irish Fair and Music Festival was founded in 1975, and then in 1976 the BIG Irish Fair moved to Devonshire Downs in Northridge, California - home of the San Fernando Valley Fair.
Brothers Allyn and Terry Anderson founded the event in an effort to combine the very best of Renaissance Pleasure Fairs with the Scottish Highland Games - only infused exclusively with everything Irish. The result was magic, and public support for the BIG Irish Fair has multiplied ever since.
The BIG Irish Fair has had many locations over the years including the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the Los Angeles Equestrian Center in Burbank, Santa Anita Racetrack in Arcadia, Irvine Meadows in south Irvine and currently at Irvine Lake in Orange County.
From Tommy Makem To The Irish Rovers - The BIG Irish Fair Continues To Present The Living Legends In Irish Music
The BIG Irish Fair has been viewed as a living Irish cultural center because it presents the very best in Irish music, song, dance and sport and is the largest Irish outdoor exhibition in the Western United States. From sheepherding shows to harp and fiddle competitions to ancient Irish displays and reenactments to Gaelic sports to the absolute best in new age and traditional Irish entertainment - the BIG Irish Fair is the event to visit to learn, enjoy and share the very best in all things Irish. The BIG Irish Fair has showcased the very best in Irish music featuring the Irish Rovers, the Clancy Brothers, Tommy Makem. Frank Patterson, Black 47, Gaelic Storm and a host of other internationally acclaimed musical groups as well as always showcasing the very best in local Irish and Irish American talent.
Never locked into the old, the BIG Irish Fair has a well earned reputation for searching out and showcasing edgy and fun-filled younger talent to reflect the changing times.
Over 1000 Irish Step Dancers
The BIG Irish Fair also features one of the largest Irish Step Dancing Feis's in America with over a 1000 Irish Step Dancers competing on 6 different stages.
Over 100 Irish, Scottish and British import shops and arts & craft vendors also are featured at the BIG Irish Fair.
Over 30,000 People Attend the BIG Irish Fair
Now in its 39th year - the BIG Irish Fair has become a landmark for Irish and Irish American culture and family entertainment. Over 30,000 people attend the event annually. It has been described as the happiest and most fun filled event in all of Southern California.
Sponsor the Southern California Rose of Tralee Program
Over the years, the Irish Fair Foundation, Inc. also has undertaken other important and Irish community significant programs including the Southern California Centre for the International Rose of Tralee Festival in Ireland. Our program features a 6 week period of events for participation by young women of Irish descent who meet the local Irish American community, assist in community projects and then are presented as Rose Debutantes in the annual St. Patrick's Day Grand Ball of the Irish on the Saturday nearest St. Patrick's Day. One of the young ladies participating is then selected to represent Southern California in the televised International Festival in Tralee, County Kerry, Ireland. This year will be our 29th Annual Rose of Tralee Presentation at the Grand Ball of the Irish.
137th Annual Irish Day Civic Ceremonies also sponsored by the BIG Irish Fair
The Irish Fair also assumed control of the Irish Day Civic Ceremonies which have been hosted in the City Council Chambers of the Los Angeles City Hall since March 17, 1876, The Irishman and Irishwoman of the Year and other Irish Honorees and celebrities are presented to the Mayor, City Council and people of Los Angeles at the ceremony.
A "Living" Irish Cultural Center
The Irish Fair is recognized as the nucleus of the local Irish and Irish American community in southern California. Indeed, it has become the "living" Irish cultural center for Southern California.