Getting your Irish on, at least for 2021, will mean putting your mask on. Celebrating its fifth anniversary and third year with the grand final day celebration at Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site, Irish Fest Camden will be held March 2-6 throughout downtown Camden, albeit with new Covid-19 safety protocols in place. The event committee, buoyed by recent festivals in Kershaw County --- Revolutionary War Field Days and Land Jam ---, both successfully run in the age of Covid, are moving full steam ahead with the popular festival. Irish Fest Camden has unofficially served to help usher in spring to Camden and Kershaw County with a series of events which are both fun and family-friendly. The festival quickly outgrew its original location in downtown Camden in and around Broad and Rutledge streets and the open lot enclosed within and headed south along Broad Street to its current and more spacious location in 2018. Last year, a crowd estimated at nearly 4,000 turned out for the festival which was the last event staged before the coronavirus struck the county and the state went into a state-mandated shutdown. A non-profit entity with proceeds benefitting the ongoing capital campaign at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church on Lyttleton St. in Camden, last year, nearly 200 members of the church and community volunteered their time to work the festival. Irish Fest Camden is grateful for the community support it has received and this year has established a Community Grant, inviting local organizations to apply for a portion of event proceeds. Grant application and additional information may be found on the event website listed below. Widely known for its final day celebration which has attracted guests from throughout the state and region, Irish Fest Camden has grown from a one-day outdoor party to a weeklong celebration of Irish culture and almost everything to do with the Emerald Isle. Throughout the week of the festival, Camden businesses are invited to help join in the festivities by decorating their storefronts in an Irish theme. A committee will visit the locations with the winner receiving a unique award. A new event this year will be held on Tuesday, March 2 as the Art of Life Studio (1031 Broad St. in Camden) will be hosting a paint night to get you into the Irish spirit. The popular Irish Authors and Open Mic Night returns to Books on Broad (944 Broad St. in Camden) on Thursday, March 4. The evening features writers and poets whose works have captured the spirit of Ireland while inviting guests to take part in discussions regarding their works. The complete list of authors and other information will be announced when plans are finalized in the upcoming weeks. A new twist on a favorite pre-celebration eve is on tap for 2021 as “Shamrock the Block” replaces the former Pub Crawl. The night of music will be held outdoors on the spacious park located on the corner of Broad and Rutledge streets with Irish bands and musicians taking to the stage for this festive evening of fun, song and fellowship. A list of entertainers will be announced once the lineup is firmed. One of the most popular events of the festival is the fourth annual Lucky Leprechaun 5K race/walk to be run at 8 a.m. on Saturday, March 6 at the Town Green. This year’s event will be run both virtually and in person. The week of festivities leads up to the grand celebration at Historic Camden Revolutionary War Site. The day of fun, games, food, refreshments and music is expected to undergo some changes due to Covid-19 regulations. The list of musical guests, performing on the main stage as well as in tents spread throughout the grounds, will be announced shortly. In addition, the Kids Zone will see changes as the event looks for safe and socially distanced fun and games. The Highland Games, a staple of the festival since its start, brings together athletes from throughout the Southeast to compete in such events as the open stone throw, the Braemer Stone throw, the Sheaf and the light and heavy hammer toss have piqued the interest of festival-goers, many of whom are getting their first look at these unique athletic events. Festival organizers are also hoping to stage a hurling tournament during the day. Hurling is a game of ancient Gaelic Irish origin in which players use a wooden stick to hit a small ball between the opponents’ goalposts, either over the crossbar for one point or, under the crossbar and into a net guarded by a goalkeeper which is worth three points. Stations featuring soda, water, beer, coffee and Irish coffee, along with a whiskey-tasting event will also be part of the festivities. Something which proved quite popular last year, an Irish pub featuring a Shepherd’s pie meal prepared by The Catery on Broad, is planned for a return engagement in 2021. There will also be other vendors offering a multitude of food and drink options spread throughout the grounds. Complete details on Irish Fest Camden 2021 may be obtained by logging onto the event’s website at irishfestcamden.com, on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/irishfestcamden/ or https://www.instagram.com/irishfestcamden/.