Read the WZZM13 Story – Michigan Irish Music Festival Gives Back

Muskegon Irish Festival took $50k generated and donated it to Muskegon Co. organizations in 2023

 6:08 PM EST December 27, 2023

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The Michigan Irish Music Festival generated $50,000 to donate to area organizations after the festival this year in September.

The festival, which presents music and culture of Irish music, also has a strong emphasis on philanthropy.

“We feel so strongly about making certain that we can make an impact on other nonprofit organizations in our community,” said Chris Zahrt, sponsorship director of Michigan Irish Music Festival and past president.

This year, the festival held a nonperishable food drive and donated all the items collected, plus cash donations, to Mission for Area People.

Since tracking began in 2008, the Michigan Irish Music Festival has donated nearly $400,000 to Muskegon County non profits. The main focus is helping with food insecurity issues.

“Just last week, we were able to give a check to Meals on Wheels, which is a program of AGEWELL services here in Muskegon County,” said Zahrt.

Another area of donation is to the Muskegon Luge and Adventure Park. Money from past events helped build their new climbing wall.

“Part of our many Reasons for All Seasons plan that was introduced in 2017 brought year round recreation to the park here rather than just winter, which was our focus for the first 35 years,” said Jim Rudicil, executive director of Muskegon Luge Adventure Park. “So now, we’re expanding into those summer months. And this is a four sided climbing wall that can allow families to climb together and interact.

Also, the park has been renting a Action Trackschair from the DNR. It is a motorized wheelchair that lets trails be accessible to more people. The park would like to purchase its own. The price is about $17,000, and donations from the Irish Music Festival have raised about half of that so far.

“Having a equipment like this allows a person with a disability to recreate with their family and not having to go to the site or wait for them to get back from their adventure,” said Rudicil. “They can adventure with them.”

Other organizations the festival donates to include Kids Food Basket,  Lakeshore Museum Center, West Michigan Speedskaters, Pioneer Resources, Family Promise of the Lakeshore, USS LST 393, Muskegon Rotary Club Interact Program, Knights of Columbus, Hope Project and Run Muskegon.

The festival returns in 2024 on September 12 through 15.