New Irish festival coming to Front Royal

A new alliance of businesses and tourist attractions is looking to bring an Irish festival to Front Royal.

Power of Partnerships Alliance (POPA) is organizing an Irish festival that will take place at the Front Royal Holiday Inn on March 7.

Tony Tringale, a farmer and chef for Tony T’s Apple Farm and Kitchen as well as an alliance member, said the concept is “a coalition of organizations that can benefit from each other.”

Tringale explained that entities such as the Economic Development Authority and 4-H has volunteers on the alliance. “This is not a member’s organization.”

“The whole purpose of POPA is working together to improve the quality of life for our residents as well as to bring in visitors from surrounding areas,” Tringale said.

The upcoming Irish festival would not only be a first for the alliance, but also a first for Front Royal. and the festival would fill a gap in the calendar of events for the town.

“In the fall, there are festivals almost every weekend, but in March, there’s almost nothing,” Tringale said. “… It also fills the gap for organizations that can do something during what is typically a slow time of year.”

Tringale said this would apply to organizations that create arts and crafts that typically sell during the holiday season.

Tringale said the alliance has booked the entire Holiday Inn in order to host the event inside.

The reason for hosting an Irish festival inside during March, Tringale said, is due to the amount of snow some areas have seen in previous years during that month.

“That is why we discounted the idea of doing an Irish parade,” Tringale said.

Although the alliance just recently started the planning process, Tringale said the idea is to have “up to 60 vendors” with their own booths inside of the hotel.

Those booths will not just be for farms or arts and crafts, Tringale said.

“Every organization [in the town] will have a booth … and get a chance to tell people what they do,” Tringale said.

Tringale said the event will be “family friendly,” but he admitted, “Obviously, you can’t do an Irish festival unless you have beer.”

To that end, Tringale said that the alliance aims to get local breweries and microbreweries involved in the event.

“This is the advantage of the groups working together because the [Warren County] Chamber of Commerce has established contacts through the Brews and Blues Festival,” Tringale said.

Tringale added that in order to help with costs, the town of Front Royal “has promised to help POPA on the basis of ‘if you raise so much money, we will match it.'”

The goal, Tringale said, is to have everything finalized the week before the event.

“The bottom line,” Tringale said, “is how can we improve the experience for our residents and … bring people to our town?”

To Tringale, a town such as Front Royal is becoming a “bedroom community” where many of the residents commute to work in places like Centreville, Chantilly and Washington, D.C.

“The dilemma is that those people do not have a lot of time to spend in their own community,” Tringale said.

Tringale said he hopes that events such as the upcoming Irish festival will help bring the community together as well as increase the exposure for Front Royal.

“We want people to know that we are friendly town that invites tourism,” Tringale said.

Contact staff writer Kevin Green at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kgreen@nvdaily.com