Write-up & Photos by Jacqueline Bennett newsandviewsjb

Two wonderful festivals celebrating proud ancestries are coming soon to central Connecticut. This year marks the 28th anniversary of the Greater Hartford Irish Music Festival slated for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, July 27-29, on the grounds of the Irish American Home Society in Glastonbury. The following weekend, the Mount Carmel Italian Festival will hold its 87th Annual Feast  August 3, 4 and 5 in Enfield.

According to the Irish American Home Society website, the Greater Hartford Irish Music Festival will feature a number of international Irish rock bands -among those scheduled to perform are Unforgetable Fire, McLean Avenue Band, Keltic Kick and Shilelagh Law. At the Cultural Tent, enjoy “traditional music, song and dance.” Learn about Irish history, culture and literature there by studying a poster-board display

– “including the priceless Book of Kells,” created by Celtic monks circa 800. In addition, a children’s area will offer rides, games and treats. Each day of the festival the St. Patrick’s Pipe Band will appear”intermittently,” as well as, attending the opening and closing ceremonies.

A variety of food and drink is promised to be available throughout the festival. Admission is free for children age 10 and under, $10.00 for age 10 and over and $9.00 for seniors. The Irish American Home Society is located at 132 Commerce Street. For more information visit http://www.irishmusicfest.com.

Tucked back from the main road but not far from Enfield center, admission to the Mount Carmel Italian Festival, 93 Park Avenue, is free. Parking  is allowed along the narrow side streets leading to the festival grounds. Finding a space can be tricky and be prepared to walk a few blocks. Nonetheless, this little festival is worth the effort. As evening falls, it takes on an Old World Italy flavor.White lights illuminate the huge tent covering long rows of picnic tables, usually staked out early by folks to savor traditional Italian food and the nightly entertainment. And, there are carnival rides.

According to the Mount Carmel website: on Friday enjoy country pop singer Veronica Balastrina , Dr. K’s Mo Town Review, Mary Ann Esposito Ciao Italia and the Cake Boss Family; on Saturday, singer Deana Martin, Supreme original singer Mary Wilson, the Cake Boss Family and Connecticut radio personality Brad Davis; and on Sunday, Ticket To Ride Beatles Tribute Band, vocalist Marcello Sparagna with matinees possible on Saturday and Sunday. For more information go to http://www.mtcarmelsociety.com.

(Writer’s note: festival photos from 2011)