Dowtown festivals attract crowds

TULSA - Several festivals brought large crowds to downtown on Saturday.

The city's first Irish festival was held at Holy Family Cathedral.

It featured traditional Irish music, dance and food.

"When we first decided to do this, we were thinking about it for a few years and trying to figure it out," said Jeffrey Fisher, president of the Bobby Sands Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the group that organized the event.

Most cities hold Irish festivals around St. Patrick's Day, but organizer didn't think it was a good idea for Tulsa.

"On St. Patrick's Day there's already a pretty big event, but it's not really cultural based, so it would be too hard to compete with that," said Fisher. "We just didn't think we could do it."

Organizers decided on September, partly because several other festivals were scheduled for the month.

"We're definitely going to do this next year," he said.

On the other end of downtown, another festival attracted a large crowd.

The 15th Art of Barbeque is a fundraiser for the Tulsa Arts and Humanities Council.

The festival is also a competition, pitting the best barbeque chefs from three states against one another.

The festival was previously held at ONE OK Field but moved to the Blue Dome District this year.

"It was a great move for us because it really allows us to expose people not only to our program and the things we do for arts education, but it allows us to really impact a number of local restaurants," said Ken Busby with the arts council.

Little Pig Town, out of Owasso, won the grand prize in this year's competition.

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