June 11, 2014 at 1:00 am

Music, dancing, pipes and drums spark annual Motor City Irish Fest

Entertainer Andy Cooney, center, will perform twice on Sunday. (Motor City Irish Fest)

Don’t wait for St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate Irish heritage. Motor City Irish Fest returns for its fifth year this weekend at Western Graham Field in Redford Township.

This year’s highlight is a pair of Sunday concerts by Irish singer Andy Cooney.

“He has sold out Carnegie Hall, and he’s an incredible Irish entertainer,” says festival chair Kevin Murphy. “He does everything from oldies to modern stuff to American ... he does a great variety of music. We’re very fortunate to have him this year.”

Other musical highlights include Metro Detroit Irish, Celtic, folk and rock bands such as Blackthorn, Finvarra’s Wren, Bill Grogan’s Goat and the Codgers. Irish step dancers from several area schools will also entertain.

“We have 20 bands, four schools of Irish dance, pipe and drums,” Murphy says. “There’s a major kids area and a group of actors from University of Michigan called Ring of Steel. They put on an act with fire, sword play and comedy.”

Slow’s Bar BQ will have signature menu items for sale, and St. Valentine’s Church (next door to the festival) will serve the expected corned beef sandwiches.

Another highlight is Saturday’s Cornhole tournament at 12:30 p.m. The winner of the bean bag toss gets a trophy and a $100 gift card to Slow’s. Register your team at motorcityirishfest.com.

Murphy says about 7,500 attended last year’s event, and he expects many more to attend this year.

Motor City Irish Fest 2014

5-11 p.m. Fri., noon-11 p.m.

Sat. and 1-8 p.m. Sun.

Western Graham Field

14841 Beech Daly, Redford Township

Tickets $12, $5 ages 12-17, free for 11 and younger. Fathers get in free on Sunday.