A Rainy Night at Irish Fest

When my children have grown and look back on their lives, they will have the singular distinction of being able to say, “We danced in a hurricane.”

Labor Day weekend, Kansas City Irish Festival. “Rain or shine” is the stock phrase, and the festival was on even as the remnants of hurricane Isaac blew through town (ultimately, 6-1/2″ of rain in just over eighteen hours.) Driscoll School of Irish Dance was slated to perform the first night of the festival, and Isaac arrived about 4:00 that afternoon.

It was windy and cold, and gusts as high as 30mph drove the rain past our umbrellas. The stage itself and seating area were covered, but it did little good; you could see the steam rising the from the lighting instruments on the stage as the wind carried the wet past all available defenses. The fifty feet from the parking garage to the backstage area was not covered, and the dance dads lined up with the umbrellas to make a tunnel and get the dancers on relatively dry. (All the dance dads but me: a dozen rows from the front and in line with the largest subwoofers I’ve ever seen, I was in sensory hell.)

Neither Katie nor Jamie wait very well, and the time leading up to going on stage was torturous for them. Once on-stage, though, wet and cold as it was, they danced like professionals and made us proud.

This was also the first time a product from our costume shop has been seen on a national stage. We were commissioned by the school to make the skirts for the advanced class, black and teal and embroidered pieces that are stunning on stage, and the Irish Festival was the debut of the design.

Driscoll School of Irish Dance, Advanced Class

There were two major falls, both advanced dancers in hard-shoe, one fall severe enough to blow out the dancer’s knee and remove her from the next day’s competition. With time and care, she is expected to heal and compete again.


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