NEWBERRY – Pull out your good luck charms because it’s time for Irish Fling in downtown Newberry. The event, which is part of Spring Fling weekend, will take place on Friday, March 16 and Saturday, March 17.
Mary Alex Kopp, tourism and events coordinator for the City of Newberry, said that over the last few years the city has been working more with the Newberry Downtown Development Association and she was approached last year about adding new elements to Irish Fling.
“After last year’s success, we got together and decided we could make a weekend out of this event,” Kopp said. “So together we’ve turned Irish Fling from a one-night-only event to a downtown open house weekend.”
Spring Fling Weekend will officially kick off at 11 a.m. on that Friday and last until 8 p.m. Hours on Saturday are from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m.
“This is when visitors can expect our participating shops to be open,” Kopp said.
Irish Fling, Kopp said is the evening bar hop portion of the weekend that people know well. The primary focus of Irish Fling includes live music, bar-hopping and Irish food and drink specials. The event will be from 5 p.m. until midnight.
“We expect that all of our restaurants and bars will participate in some way or fashion,” Kopp said.
Several examples of what patrons might expect to see will include a three dollar Guinness special at the Grille on Main, as well as corned beef and cabbage specials at The Cabana Café. Cabana will also be featured a Shamrock martini, Kopp said.
Martin Street Beer Parlor will be serving up pulled pork ribs and Shephard’s pie on the grill, while Pour Richard’s is set to have a food truck in front of their establishment, Kopp said as well as door prizes and giveaways.
“We expect to see that most of our downtown restaurants will have live entertainment of some sort,” Kopp said.
All ages welcome
Any time the city is involved in an event, Kopp said they want to make it open to all ages and to be family-friendly as the city has many varying ages in their families.
The Leprechaun Scavenger Hunt is back and lasting throughout the Spring Fling Weekend, where each participating store will have a leprechaun hiding in their business. Each leprechaun will be named and if a certain number are found, the participant is entered to win door prizes. Winners will not be drawn until the following Wednesday, March 21.
The city “event tent” will be set up once again in Astwood Park, Kopp said from 5-9 p.m. where visitors can pick up maps, brochures, etc. Those over the age of 21 can pick up a wristband at the event tent as well as some souvenirs.
Those wearing their green will be entered into a raffle to win tickets to a show at the Newberry Opera House.
Scavenger hunt sheets can be turned in throughout the weekend at a participating shop or on Friday night during Irish Fling at the event tent.
Because of the influx of foot traffic at last year’s Irish Fling event, Kopp said Main Street will be closing down on March 16 from 4 p.m. until 1 a.m. All side streets will remain open.
Something new added to Irish Fling this year is Joy Ride LLC that was a part of the city’s Healthy Chili Cook-Off event. Kopp said the group is wanting to offer their touring services during the event for a discounted price. For just five dollars, patrons can take a narrated tour of a downtown Newberry from the group.
Remainder of weekend
Aside from Irish Fling, Kopp said the remainder of Spring Fling Weekend could best be described as an open house, with different shops downtown offering door prizes, refreshments and sales.
“It’s a chance for some of our downtown merchants to get their spring items out, get people into their stores shopping and thinking about what they may need for Easter, spring birthday gifts and more,” Kopp said.
A few examples of store offerings that weekend include As Time Goes By who will be sharing green punch and other refreshments as well as a 20% off sale. The Gallery will also have refreshments along with sale items and door prizes.
Also newly added to the weekend, Kopp said is Bear Arms CrossFit who will host “The Shamrock Games,” on March 17 from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m.
“It’s an Irish-themed fitness and costume competition for anyone and everyone at all fitness levels,” Kopp said.
Male and female competitions of different levels will be held, Kopp said and even if you aren’t up to participating, she said they hoped people would venture downtown to watch at their location on 1223 Victory Street.
The Shamrock Games are for ages 18 and up, however there is no age limit for spectators. The cost to compete is $15.
“It’s the first year they’ve ever done this and we’re really excited for them,” Kopp said. “I think it will be fun to have a little something different going on.”
While Kopp said the city will be updating their social media pages as the event grows closer, the hub to find out anything and everything about the event will be online at www.newberryirishfling.com.