BUTTE — The original stage is being set up for the annual An Ri Ra Montana Irish Festival in Butte. This is the event and the stage that Butte’s Tiernan Irish Dancers work so hard to be a part of each year.
“An Ri Ra is like state basketball, you know, it’s the equivalent of a state championship, it’s the big deal, it’s the big show,” said Tiernan Dance Instructor Kerry Hall.
For dozens of members of the Tiernan dance team, performing at An Ri Ra is an exciting time.
“It’s a little scary when you’re up there first, but as you start dancing and having fun, it’s not that scary,” said nine-year-old dancer Jordan Powers.
Seven-year-old Morgan Powers added, “It’s fun being in front of a big crowd and it’s really fun.”
There are about 80 members of the Tiernan dancers ranging from three years old up to 18 years old and they’ve been training for months for this event.
“An Ri Ra should be great, we’re hoping for great weather, we’re hoping for great attendance numbers, our dancers been putting in the time and practicing and should be ready to go,” said Hall.
The free festival will feature several members of the elite Trinity Dancers out of Chicago, Irish music, and food vendors. Organizers say the event is for everyone.
“I’ve had people say, ‘Well, I’m not going to go, I’m not Irish.’” Well, I come back and say, ‘You don’t have to be Irish to have a good time.’ You know, come up and enjoy yourself, relax, meet people you haven’t seen in a long time, just enjoy the day,” said Event organizers Frank Walsh.
The festival begins Friday, Aug. 11 at 2 PM and continues Saturday and Sunday.