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Gavin’s Celebrates Tenth Annual Guinness Fest

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    The Canny Brothers performing at last year’s Guinness Festival.
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    Guests enjoying the Guinness Festival last year at Gavin’s Irish Country Inn in East Durham.
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    The annual Guinness Festival at Gavin’s Irish Country Inn in East Durham last year.
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    Courtesy of Bernadette Gavin-Palmieri Gavin’s Irish Country Inn will hold its 10th annual Guinness Festival on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
October 3, 2017 - 11:42 pm

EAST DURHAM — Almost everything has gotten bigger over the last 10 years at Gavin’s Irish Country Inn’s annual Guinness festival.

The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday.

The event offers free admission and parking. Activities are designed for the whole family and for people of all ages.

Since becoming the first big festival ever to be held on site at Gavin’s, the Durham inn has learned a lot, Gavin’s innkeeper Bernadette Gavin-Palmieri said Tuesday.

“It was totally new for us,” she said. “We learned an awful lot from an operational standpoint.”

A big thing that Gavin-Palmieri said she learned was to always have the rain or shine option and to always have a heated tent. Also, the beer truck is a must, she said.

“Last year we ran out of Guinness,” Gavin-Palmieri said. “We’ll have more this year — as the years go on you get to know what the people want.”

Gavin-Palmieri said every year the event gets bigger and bigger.

Being an Irish festival, Gavin-Palmieri said Gavin’s works really hard to get top notch Irish music from beginning to end.

“We provide the best Irish music we can find,” she said. “We have over ten bands coming.”

Of the various bands coming to the festival, several are new while other have been attending for years, such as the Kevin Mccormack Band playing for the first time and the Screaming Orphans who have been playing there since the beginning.

“It’s cool that we had them in the beginning and now 10 years later,” Gavin-Palmieri said of the Screaming Orphans. “They have a big following.”

Gavin-Palmieri said this is most musical performances they’ve ever had for the festival. It’s also the first year they will have two offical stages.

The event offers more activities than just music, though. Irish stepdancers and pipers will be performing as well.

A kids’ tent will also be set up for activities such as arts and crafts, and Irish stepdancing and Gaelic football classes.

Gaelic football is the number one Irish sport in Ireland, Gavin-Palmieri said. It’s a combination of American soccer, American football and rugby.

“It’s exciting — it’s Columbus Day weekend and there and numerous wonderful events in Greene County and people come here,” she said. “Some people only decide to stop by and end up staying for longer.”

Gavin-Palmieri said she believes the Guinness Festival’s success has become a model for other events, such as Gavinstock, which had its second running this year.

For the future, Gavin-Palmieri said Gavin’s wants to add another event for the spring, that way they have an event for the spring, summer, and fall seasons.

“We’re hoping that it gets bigger and bigger,” she said of the Guinness Festival. “The bigger it gets, the more we’ll be able to offer.”

Other future plans for Gavin’s include partnering with other Irish festivals in the Northeast and a permanent outdoor venue, like a biergarten, to be available throughout the fall season.

To reach reporter Anthony Fiducia, call 518-828-1616, ext. 2309, or email afiducia@registerstar.com.