From the Thursday night kickoff party onward, the Irish Fair of Minnesota remains dedicated to the proposition that revelry is an essential component of Irish cultural appreciation. Annually held on Harriet Island, this three-day celebration pays homage to those of Irish descent, retracing customs of the distant past to contemporary traditions. Visitors can expect to encounter workshops focusing on the rich lore of Irish musical forms, speakers recounting the tumultuous history of the country, and intriguing displays of artifacts. If all that sounds a tad academic, rest assured the fair offers ample diversions, including ongoing dance performances (and tutorials) amid a procession of international musical entertainment ranging from traditional folk balladeers to pub rockers. As always, an enormous assortment of food and drink vendors will be available for a delectable feast of Irish cuisine and beverages. One new option will undoubtedly command the attention of foodies; the Celtic Kitchen will feature a series of cooking demonstrations and competitions. For more info, visit www.irishfair.com.