Q&A: Beth Wolf, Volunteer Coordinator for Immaculate Conception's "Irish Fest on the Hill"


Wolf is the volunteer coordinator for Immaculate Conception Catholic Church’s 7th annual “Irish Fest on the Hill” on Saturday, Aug. 9, 4 p.m.-10 p.m. at 414 W. Vine Ave. The event will feature authentic Irish food, music, beer, desserts, and Irish coffee. Other features: American street fair food, a silent auction, Celtic dancers, and an Irish dog contest.
Are you Irish?
Is the Pope Catholic? Yes! I’m Irish on both sides of my family—Ashe on my father’s and Hayes on my mother’s.
How’d did you get involved with this?
I went to the first one first and had a wonderful time and decided to help out the next year and have been involved ever since.
Has it evolved over the seven years?
Yes. We started out just in the back parking area. The past three years we have expanded to include the street in front of the church, which we close during the festival. This year we are having music in the street area as well as in the back of the church. We started out with 250 attendees and are now up to around 1,000.
What’s your favorite part?
The Irish music. Just some of the acts this year include Nancy Brennan Strange and the Finn McCools, Four Leaf Peat, the Good Thymes Ceilidh Band, Subtle Clutch, Julianne White and the Gypsy Rovers and more. I can sing—or maybe I should say hum—along with almost all of the tunes. I also enjoy the dancing. We have Irish dancers who perform and do a little lesson.
Will you serve green beer?
No green beer. But we do have Irish beer: Guinness, Smithwicks, and Killians. And Miller Lite, which is not so Irish.
How do you folks make the Irish coffee?
Irish coffee recipe: Coffee, brown sugar, one jigger of Irish whiskey with a little—or a lot—of slightly whipped heavy cream. 
Will the priests be there?
Yes. Our parish priest Father Ron Franco will be there as well as Father Jerry Tully. Other priests from the area will also attend. 
The money from food and beverage sales and admission—how will it be used?
The funds this year are going to the church’s roof/ceiling restoration fund. Immaculate Conception is the oldest Catholic church in Knoxville—159 years old—and this is a much-needed project.
Is the fest a good time to learn about the church?
This is a wonderful opportunity to learn more about the Catholic faith. The Parish Hall will have information about the church. Also, we’ll host tours of the church at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. And the priests or parishioners will be happy to talk to those interested and answer any questions.
For updates, see the event page on Facebook.
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