This weekend is the Erin Feis, Peoria’s yearly weekend Irish Festival that runs from Friday to Sunday evening. Well, actually it started last night for a select few at the pre-party for the festival and I was invited to the party. Well, I’m never one to turn down an invitation to a party, so let’s head on down to Peoria’s Riverfront and we’ll also make a couple of stops along the way! Come along, you’ll see!
Stop Number One: The Rhythm Kitchen
I thought I’d have dinner down the street from where the Erin Feis pre-party is happening at The Rhythm Kitchen on Water Street. It’s been a while since I’ve been here, so I thought it would be a nice spot to have dinner before the party. I love the inside decor of here, it’s always puts me in a festive mood with the lights, chandeliers and the artwork and photos on the walls. I thought we’d sit at the bar off to the side of the dining area and Sara and Julie behind the bar quick with a drink to start the evening off! Perfect! I scanned the extensive menu and decided to try the Tex Mex pizza.
The kitchen area is here in the back of the restaurant and there’s Marshall, who I met a while back at The Tartan Inn, great to see him again! And check it out, the pizza is already being made by Chef Jason and it looks delicious! Julie brought it over to the bar and it was so tasty! The Tex Mex Pizza has a spicy tomato sauce, chunks of spicy ground beef, onions, diced peppers, corn and a mixture of different cheeses and salsa. It’s really a unique tasting pizza and I loved it! Chef Jason told me that their going to be putting out a new menu in mid-September, so I’ll be coming back for a Saturday night dinner to try it out, stay tuned for that! But now...
It’s time to walk down Water Street to the Gateway Building where the entrance to the Erin Feis is, but first...
Stop Number Two: Emack & Bolio’s
You just can’t walk past Emack & Bolio’s without stopping in and getting some ice cream, it’s just the rules and if you disobey them you’re in for big trouble! And I know all about big trouble, just ask anyone in Peoria Heights (inside joke alert!), so I decided to stop in and as luck would have it, there’s Tim Hennessey, the MBIP Spiritual Guru with a giant Emack & Bolio’s ice cream cone! Always great to see Tim, but now it’s time for the main event of the evening!
Stop Number Three: The Erin Feis Pre-Party
The entrance to the Erin Feis is here at the Gateway Building on Water Street. Let’s go in and I believe that the party is happening over at this tent which has been christened as, O’Neill’s Irish Pub.
Yep, this is the place and once inside I immediately spot some familiar faces! There’s Dan Kenny, who I haven’t seen since one of the last Hennessey weddings and next I ran into Colleen Kimball and her husband, Kelly. Colleen is the person responsible for my invitation, so thank you, Colleen, I’m having fun already! Next is a family portrait of Colleen and her parents, Tom and Karen. And then I met Dennis, who told me I can just call him, Dennis the Menace. I kind of wanted to call him Mr. Wilson, but what are you going to do?
Dann Haney was working behind the table delivering and drawing draft beers for the party and I went back so Colleen could get a photo of myself, Dann and K.C. who was also working the taps back there. While I was on the other side of the table I took a bar shot and then my friend Jeff Putnam sauntered up to say hello! Jeff’s band Turas is playing the Erin Feis on Saturday at noon at the main stage. They put on a great show and if you want to hear some authentic Irish tunes, go and check them out! As some announcements were to be made, I made my way up to the stage in the tent and was happy to see Jeff’s mom, Sarah there! John Martin made some announcements about the weekend and then introduced the Leprechaun of the Year and it turned out to be Dennis, who we just met! Congratulations, Dennis!
After the announcements I ran into my friends, Roxy and Greg, who we last saw at the Heart of Illinois Fair. The the band for the evening fired up and started playing their first set. The band is The Brazen Heads and they’re really a wonderful and energetic Irish band. They’re playing Friday and Saturday night and you definitely need to check them out! Check out the band schedules here for more information on the music at the festival for the weekend. There’s Bob, who’s working the beer truck with gusto and I ran into Brian and Tonya, friends of mine from Mike’s Taverna and West Peoria!
I wandered over to the main festival area to take some pre-festival shots of the grounds. I’ll be taking more on Saturday night when it’s in full swing and those will be up next Monday, so stay tuned for those!
Meanwhile, back at O’Neil’s Pub, the band plays on and the crowd is loving it! There’s Martha and Jeff from Trefzger’s Bakery dancing and clapping along, great to see both of them and we’ll be having an update on the new Trefzger’s building soon, so once again, stay tuned! Roxy was hanging out with two other women who will be volunteering at the festival this weekend, Jess and Sue. And there’s Dan again with his wife, Katie and Tom on the left.
The Brazen Heads ended their set, but came back for an encore, these guys really know how to please a crowd! And there’s Joe and Amber, the MBIP Thursday night regular friends! Amber, Joe and I ended the evening chatting with Jeff and Sarah. Sarah is one of Peoria’s biggest supporters of live music in the area and she’s also well-versed on all kinds of musical knowledge and it was a blast talking with her!
Thanks to everyone at the Erin Feis for a fun Thursday night pre-party! The festival starts today at 4PM and you can check out the entire weekend schedule by clicking right here. It’s three days of Irish fun on Peoria’s Riverfront and I hope to see you there!
Related Post: Saturday Night @ Erin Feis 2015.