DANCING, potatoes and plenty of Guinness proved to be a popular concoction for another year of Emerald Isle celebrations.
More than 2000 people attended the Koroit Irish Festival during the four- day event which organisers claimed was their most successful event ever.
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Green, yellow, auburn and turquoise intermingled in a sea of colours when Irish-Australians and homesick expats took to the town’s main thoroughfares for the annual street parade.
All of Ireland’s counties were represented in the Saturday procession with flag-wavers either connected to ancestors or actually hailing from that particular part of the Emerald Isle.
Organising committee member Anthony Dowling said the street procession drew attendees from across Victoria, over the state border and internationally.
He said the infectious music and dancing was a big drawcard for people either Irish or with a tinge of green in their veins.
“Koroit has a rich Irish history so it’s fantastic that we’re able to celebrate it in style each year,” Mr Dowling said. “The feedback from people that have participated has been great. The street procession is always visually striking.”
Lara resident Charmaine Rolls and friend Pauline Cunningham took out top honours in the potato picking competition.
The women managed to swiftly pick up and store 10 kilograms of potatoes within minutes.
“My partner is originally from Ireland, so we’ve been to the festival in Koroit several times,” Ms Rolls said.
“It’s a great mix of music, dancing and catching up with friends at the pub.”
Meanwhile, the festival’s annual Danny Boy competition was contested by a range of singers who all belted out the traditional tune on Saturday night.
Warrnambool teacher Maja Pearson returned to the competition after a six-year break after winning the title with a Celtic twist in 2006.
She said the song, first recorded to the tune of Londonderry Air in 1915, was popular across the generations.
“When I was a child, I’d sing at eisteddfods and competitions and Danny Boy was a favourite back then,” Ms Pearson said.
“I first won the Danny Boy competition with a Celtic interpretation but this year I decided to come back to it and approach the song in a more operatic style.”