Shop the Irish Market and Store Online

Music floats on the air as the last beams of the setting sun strike the jewelry in the Irish Store and set it twinkling. There is magic at the Michigan Irish Music Festival. A wonderful way to bring that magic home with you is by visiting the Irish Market and the Irish Store.

Every year a dedicated group of people come together to help us build our amazing festival. You may not know their names, but they know you. They know how you MUST get your yearly treats, or that it is time for a new hat or kilt. They enjoy seeing you laugh at the T-shirts and plaques with witty Irish sayings, meeting your new sweetheart as you pick out a ring, and dreaming with you of future trips as you admire the beautiful photographs of Ireland.

Our Market Vendors are there every year, just waiting to help you find that perfect memento that will help make the rest of your year that much brighter. Because they are unable to be here in 2020, we are bringing them to you. Below is the list of our valued vendors and links to their online stores.


Celtic Seasons
Earthen Craft
Highland Trading Company
Ireland in America
Mystic Ireland Gift Shop
Real Irish
St. Kilda
Sylvan Spirits
UK Market/ Welsh Cookie Company

Village Baker


Celtic Bag Company
Faith and Begorra
Kevin’s Irish Art
Murray’s Irish Outfitters
Shamrock Chic
Sullivan’s Irish Alley
Scotty Dotty Shortbread

Celtic Canines

When a friend you have known since kindergarten asks you for a favor, you do your best to oblige. When my friend Chris Zahrt, who was my schoolmate, teammate and even roommate in college, asked me to help with a new addition to the Michigan Irish Music Festival, I jumped in head-first. After all, the favor involved dogs, my favorite subject.

Chris asked if I could help out with a new event, adding a program with Irish dog breeds as part of MIMF. My response: Woof! I had hoped for years MIMF would add an Irish dog breeds component, and it finally had, in 2016. While I was confident in my abilities to pull it off – Chris had sent me tons of information on how other Irish festivals conducted their dog event – I wasn’t sure I could get all eight Irish breeds to that first Celtic Canines. I was certain the Glen of Imaal terrier would elude me, since it is a pretty rare breed in the United States. As luck would have it, I found TWO Glens in the Muskegon area, and both dog owners were ecstatic about participating.

Through Facebook posts and word of mouth, we soon had all eight breeds lined up for year 1: Irish Wolfhound, Irish terrier, Kerry Blue terrier, Glen of Imaal terrier, Irish setter, Red & White setter, Irish water spaniel and Soft-Coated Wheaten terrier. Working out logistics also was a challenge … we wanted to make sure each dog and owner had enough space to feel comfortable, yet leave enough room for MIMF patrons to meet and pet the breeds and talk to the breed owners. Using the same area as the Highland Games from the previous day was the solution. It allowed for plenty of space under the tent (in case of rain) or out in the open grassy area.

The next challenge/worry: Would people come to see the dogs? We posted signage and did local radio and morning TV news programs, bringing along an Irish Wolfhound and Irish Water Spaniel (of course they were a hit with the TV audience). We spread the word any way we could.

I still remember the minutes before we opened the gates to let patrons into the Celtic Canines area. I checked in with the security guard posted at the gate. To my astonishment, he pointed out a long line of people. He said that was the crowd WAITING to get in to see the dogs. Once that gate opened, the crowd came pouring in, some of them running over to the area where the dogs were! Because of our beautifulkerry bl signage for each breed (thank you, Longer Days), fans were able to locate their favorite breed right away. We had several Irish Wolfhounds, which were, and continue to be, the stars of Celtic Canines.

The many volunteers who have helped with the Celtic Canines team the past five years have been incredible. They are a big part of the reason we have been able to get more and more dogs in each of the years we’ve held the event. That first year, we had 16 dogs.  In 2019, we had 26! Each year, the dog owners would remark to me that our volunteers were the best and they will keep coming back. Our volunteers not only ready the Celtic Canines area, they escort the owners and dogs from their cars to their reserved spots under the tents, help set up crates and tables and even “dog sit” if the owner needs to take a break or wants to wander the festival grounds. Once the event ends, they help the dog owners pack up and escort the dogs back to their vehicles.

We’re proud that we have delighted thousands of patrons who have attended the Celtic Canines event each year. The dogs love the attention and the dog owners love the fact that their pooches are worn out by the end of the day!

I was saddened to have to inform our dog owners that the MIMF was canceled this year because of COVID-19. The owners all expressed their disappointment, but all understood that safety comes first. Each has vowed to return in 2021.

We look forward to seeing you on the final day of the 2021 MIMF for Celtic Canines. The dogs will be ready! 

– Mary Ullmer-Celtic Canines Coordinator

Top 25 Photos!

The disappointment of 2020 has hit everything we hold dear.

The devastation we all felt with the cancellation of our beloved Michigan Irish Music Festival has left us heartbroken. There is a huge void for all who love MIMF as September 2020 has arrived.

My sincere hope is that I can fill that void with some wonderful memories of festivals past!

Irish music has been a part of me all my life. My roots are from County Galway (grandmother) and County Meath (grandfather). When Chris asked me to do this, I started to think about how Irish culture – especially Irish music – has impacted my life. I thought about how, in my young life, my Grandpa would play all the rebel tunes on his squeezebox. My aunts would dance to the jigs and reels. It runs deep in my soul.

I have been a part of Irish music festivals in Muskegon since the very first one. In 2013, I was asked to photograph MIMF. For me, it was a no brainer. Some see me as a historian for the festival. I suppose they are correct, and I humbly accept that role!

When Chris asked me to do this, I immediately realized it was going to be a very difficult task. Where do I start? How do I pick a list of top 10 photos? I have literally thousands of photos from all those years. How do I pick a hundred photos… How do I pick 10? What about all the festivals I did not photograph (pre 2013). Can I do this without representing those years?

I realize I am overthinking this…

MIMF has been a staple in our community, a crown jewel in the heart of our festival lives. Our community has embraced this festival and our volunteers show up proudly every year to make it the best it can be. Our venue is arguably the most beautiful of all festival venues. Every year, we gather the finest musicians in all the land. Thousands of fans fill the tents and leave with their bellies and hearts full. I can do this…

I clear my mind. I start at my beginning, sorting through all the photos. My list totals 25 photos. I based my choices on a variety of things. Some are personal, and some are simply because they belong on such a list. In my heart, every photo was chosen with all the volunteers and fans in mind.

This festival is a HUGE success every year because of you!

I sincerely hope you enjoy my look back at festivals past. I look forward to the party it will be in 2021.


Sounds Like Ireland – West Michigan Celtic Radio Program





? 5 – 7 pm EST Thursdays
? Listen on Muskegon 100.9FM
? Stream live from your computer or mobile device and listen ANYWHERE!
☘️ Sponsored by Michigan Irish Music Festival

Tune in on Thursday’s from 5 – 7 pm to Muskegon 100.9FM for West Michigan’s first Celtic Radio program! Sounds Like Ireland is sponsored by the Michigan Irish Music Festival and hosted by “The Voice of the Michigan Irish Music Festival” Bill Marshall. In addition to terrific tunes, Bill will bring in special guests for each show and talk about all things Irish in West Michigan. Put it in your calendar or set an alarm on your phone! We are pretty excited that the airwaves will be extra special on these Thursdays! Can’t get to a radio? Download the app and listen from ANYWHERE!

Cancellation of St. Pat’s Party

After careful consideration and under the recommendation of local and state officials, including the office of Governor Witmer, the St. Patrick’s Party event of the Michigan Irish Music Festival will be canceled. This event was scheduled for Friday & Saturday, March 13 & 14 at Bella Maria’s Event Center at 513 Pontaluna Rd. Muskegon. Our first and foremost priority is the safety of our guests, performers, and volunteers. The planning and hard work of our volunteer crew is to be commended and this decision was hard, but in the end, we know this is for the best of all involved. Click here for updates on Facebook.

Announcing Line-up for 2020 St. Pat’s Party & Fundraiser

The Michigan Irish Music Festival is excited to announce its annual St. Patrick’s Party March 13 and 14 at Bella Maria’s Ristorante & Event Center, 513 West Pontaluna Road, Norton Shores, MI.

The party will feature live entertainment both nights. The Kreellers, an energetic Celtic Rock group hailing from Detroit, is an unstoppable powerhouse steeped in traditional Irish sound. The band’s mix of rock, funk, and punk elements has created a sound that is sure to keep patrons rocking all night!

Other highlights of the event include performances by local favorites the Oat Bran Boys, an acoustic trio of bluegrass and Irish music, and traditional Irish dance performances from the Ardan Academy of Dance. Additionally, the silent auction returns both nights with several new exciting formats and ways to bid on the variety of items.

Back by popular demand is McGovern’s Corned Beef and Irish fare. Pigeon Hill Brewing Company’s MI Irish Stout, Magner’s Irish Cider, Irish cream, Jameson Irish Whiskey, and Budweiser products will also be served. Doors open at 5:30pm both nights with music starting at 6pm. Tickets are available at the door for $8, and kids 12 and under get in for free.

The mission of the Michigan Irish Music Festival is to produce a quality Midwest Irish Music Festival that promotes Irish culture and heritage while enhancing the community through entertainment, tourism, education and philanthropy. The festival is proud to support Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry and Kids’ Foot Basket with gifts of non-perishable food items and cash donations. Since 2008, due to the success of the St. Pat’s Party and the Festival, the Michigan Irish Music Festival has donated over $266,000 in cash and 21,000 pounds of food back to the community.

The Michigan Irish Music Festival will return this fall, September 17-20, 2019, at Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon. The festival kicks off with a Pub Party on Thursday, September 17th. The festival and St. Patrick’s Day Party are sponsored by G&L, Budweiser, Van’s Car Wash & Quick Lube, and Family Financial Credit Union.

For media information, please contact:
Michigan Irish Music Festival

Save $5

While supplies last.

Save $5 on the 2019 Official Festival shirt, with bands listed. Show this to the MIMF Merchandise tent.

3 Free Summer Shows to Celebrate Our 20th Birthday

We are turning 20 years old this September and to celebrate with you, we are presenting 3 FREE Summer Shows in 7 days!

You will have a chance to see Shane Hennessy, Connla and Aoife Scott before they take the stages at the 20th Michigan Irish Music Festival (September 12-15)

Connla at Rosa Parks Circle

Thursday, August 2nd
12:00 PM
Rosa Parks Circle
Grand Rapids, MI

Shane Hennessy at McGraft Park

Tuesday, August 20th
7:00 PM
McGraft Park
Muskegon, MI

Aoife Scott at Montague Band Shell

Tuesday, August 27th
7:00 PM
Montague Band Shell
Montague, MI

Michigan Irish Music Festival Announces 2019 Line-up


4-Day Festival Returns Sept. 12-15

The Michigan Irish Music Festival observes its 20th anniversary this year, and what better way to celebrate than by hosting more bands than ever in the history of the event?

The festival returns to Heritage Landing in downtown Muskegon Sept. 12-15 and features Irish and Celtic music on seven covered stages. The festival kicks off Thursday, Sept. 12 with its Pub Preview Party featuring food, beverages and three bands in the pub tent only. The full festival begins on Friday.

In addition, to live music, the Celtic Kitchen and beverage stations serve authentic Irish food and beverages. The Tea Room has non-alcoholic choices and treats in a relaxed atmosphere. Other activities include the Irish Market and Irish Store, children’s activities, a cultural center and a session tent. Saturday, FEIS, an Irish dance competition, and the Highland Games are held. Sunday, a Catholic mass at 9 a.m. will be followed by a traditional Irish breakfast. Celtic Canines, where patrons meet and learn about Irish dog breeds, also is Sunday.

This year’s festival, expected to draw 40,000 patrons, is expected to have a record 26 bands. Here’s a sneak peek at 10 of the bands on tap:

Gaelic Storm


After two decades and more than 2,000 live shows, this multi-national Celtic band returns to the festival for the first time in five years. Gaelic Storm attributes their continued success to a diversified fan base from several musical genres: country, bluegrass, Celtic and rock.

Gaelic Storm, which has gained a reputation as a genre-bending Irish rock band, has topped the Billboard World Chart six times, appearing at mainstream music festivals and headlining the largest Irish Festivals across the country.


The band’s most recent release, “Decade-Best of The High Kings,” garnered rave reviews, and their recently completed U.S. tour sold out many of its venues. High Kings’ unique contemporary style and arrangement to songs of yesteryear are sure to delight.


The singer and songwriter from Dublin was named the 2018 winner of the
Best Irish Folk Act at the Irish Post Music Awards. Her music has a broad creative scope, but is largely influenced by her own roots in folk and traditional Irish music.


This exciting and dynamic transatlantic trio presents a rousing blend of Irish and American folk music. They offer both traditional and newly composed music, presented in an energetic and engaging manner.


The multi-award winning quartet from Ireland blends the best of traditional Irish music with bluegrass and Americana in a new genre, which has been branded as “I-Grass” — Irish influenced Bluegrass.


Doolin’ currently is one of the most innovative bands of the Irish music scene. Formed in Toulouse in 2005, the band comprises six accomplished and eclectic musicians. French in origin this sextet brings a fresh approach to Irish music. Doolin’ combines instrumentals, vocals and original compositions in a resolutely modern style. The arrangements at times taking their inspiration from pop-rock, folk, jazz, funk and even rap.


Pigeon Kings draws from Celtic and rock influences, but they’re not Celtic Rock. There are traditional elements, but they’re not a traditional band. With elements of Americana and Bluegrass, they have a sound and persona all their own. Pigeon Kings offers a high energy stage show backed by unique compositions, honest lyrics and experienced showmanship.


Jack Baker of the Irish American News named The Drowsy Lads the “Best Irish American Band of 2018.” The Lads, out of Columbus, Ohio, have won over both casual music lovers and those steeped in hardcore traditional Irish music. They’re fond of creating their own spirited arrangements and offer occasional original compositions (even mixing in Bluegrass and Classical), but that never gets in the way of their obsession with the pure old Irish tunes, songs, wit and friendship that has defined Irish music for centuries.


After winning New Group of the Year (Chicago Irish American News) and Best New Group (Live Ireland Music Awards) in 2016, Connla has been quickly making an impact on the folk/traditional scene. More recently, Connla won Album of the Year for 2019 at both the ALSR Celtic Music Awards and the Livvies Awards. Songlines magazine named Connla their “must-see act” for their UK tour and proclaimed “a band this young shouldn’t be this good.”


The five young musicians that make up The Conifers met while studying traditional music at the University of Limerick. They have since developed a lasting friendship, which is evident in their music. In 2018, The Conifers, whose music is energetic and lively with a wholesome sound, won first place in the prestigious Michigan Irish Music Initiative competition in Dundalk.


Advance tickets and passes for this year’s Michigan Irish Music Festival are available online (patrons save $5 per ticket online vs. the gate price). The festival offers an Early-In Free promotion on Friday only from 5 to 6 p.m., sponsored by Family Financial Credit Union. Other major sponsors of the festival include G&L, Van’s Car Wash and Budweiser. The Delta Hotels by Marriot and Shoreline Inn are host hotels for the festival.


Local Highlight

LongerDays loves Muskegon! Our co-founder is originally from here, and moved the company back to Muskegon after it was founded in South Carolina. Our office is located in the burgeoning downtown district, and although not many of our clients are local, our employees love giving back to our community.

One of the most popular ways is volunteering with the Michigan Irish Music Festival.

About the Fest

The Michigan Irish Music Festival was started in Muskegon in 2000. They are a 100% volunteer operated, nonprofit organization that holds their primary event annually over the second weekend in September. The festival is held at Heritage Landing, which is also part of Downtown Muskegon, and includes four days of entertainment on six different stages, 23 market vendors, 13 food vendors, Highland Games presentations, Celtic Canines, an extensive Wee Ones’ area, and much more.

Giving Back

Giving back to the community is a big part of MIMF’s mission – and has been since its inception. Festival President and Sponsorship Director, Chris Zahrt, says: “Helping to provide food for local food pantries in Muskegon County is something we’re committed to. Feeding people has deep Irish ties, stemming back to the Great Famine. This is just another way we can put Irish culture in the forefront of people’s minds, and help our local community at the same time.

“Part of our mission states that we enhance the community through philanthropy,” Zahrt added. “Our Nonprofit Partners include the Boy Scouts, Muskegon Catholic Central Schools, USS LST 393, Reeths Puffer High School Techies, Rotary Club’s ‘Interact High School Club,’ Howmet Theater, and the Junior Lumberjacks.”

In 2017 alone, the festival gave $13,000 back to Muskegon Kids’ Food Basket (another one of our favorite charities), and $18,524 to Loaves and Fishes (a local food pantry). In addition, MIMF also collected non-perishable food items at the festival, and was able to give Loaves and Fishes 4,620 pounds of food to stock their pantries. Between KFB, the food pantries, and other nonprofit partners, MIMF was able to give back to our community with charitable donations totaling $49,803.

Continuous Growth

Since 2000, the festival has seen growth every year. In the last year alone, the festival’s attendance has grown by 19%, hitting a record number of 35,072 attendees in 2017. Not only does this help the food pantries (through what the festival is able to give back), it also fills up the two hotels in Downtown Muskegon during a weekend in September that is not traditionally a tourism season, helping bolster Muskegon’s tourism economy as well.

It’s not just their patrons that travel far and wide to come to the festival! They have volunteers come from all over the country to lend their time and talents, including people from Illinois, Wisconsin, Florida, Rhode Island, North Carolina, Texas, and Massachusetts. 1,253 volunteers work over the weekend, compiling of 7,917 hours in just 4 days!

How LongerDays Helps

LongerDays doesn’t just partner with MIMF to volunteer at the festival, we also provide virtual business services for the festival year-round. About 95% of the graphics created for the festival are done by LongerDays (including billboards, programs, sponsorship presentations, and more). We answer their phone line, handle all ticket order fulfillment and distribution, and help with many other office tasks that are tough for the festival to handle, since they don’t have a brick-and-mortar office.

LongerDays loves organizations that bolster our community, and the Michigan Irish Music Festival fits the bill in many different ways. It’s easy to see why they’re one of our favorites!

Author: Andrew Zahrt of LongerDays