NOW ACCEPTING SUBMISSIONS for 2021
It is with our great pleasure to announce that CelticMKE is again launching the annual Milwaukee Irish Fest poster contest, which is open to the public. Milwaukee Irish Fest is the world’s largest celebration of Celtic music and culture, and is held every third weekend in August, along the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. We've had an official poster for the festival since the beginning, 1981, and look forward to seeing what designs come in to help us commemorate our official 40th anniversary as an Irish organization!
There will be two cash prizes for this competition. First place will be awarded $1,500 and second place $500. Milwaukee Irish Fest will own the rights of the two winners’ artwork. With an opportunity to learn as well as grow your portfolio, this contest will also give your design exposure, through the hundreds of thousands of patrons that attend the festival.
Anyone can enter; you do not need to be an art student. Any and all artists are encouraged to submit their design, and all will be reviewed. It is strongly recommended that the artwork be put into a program such as Photoshop or Illustrator, so that revisions, if needed, can be made if the design makes it to the finalist round. Please refer to the PDF document below for the criteria regarding design specs and for aid in your Celtic and Irish cultural research.
The deadline for entries is March 17, 2021. Please submit your entry by completing the 2021 Poster Submission, which you can click here. The artwork should be named and saved with the artist email address, so finalists can easily be contacted.
These posters are collected by festival-goers from around the world, and are also used to publicize the event. Copies are distributed in the U.S. and are also sent abroad. They hang in homes, offices and Irish pubs, among many other places. It is a noteworthy opportunity as the winner’s design will be a part of our festival’s history! There are two locations on the festival grounds where the official posters are sold. The first place winner will be invited to attend the festival on both Saturday and Sunday afternoon as a guest of the festival and for an autograph signing.
Download PDF View Past Winners
2021 Poetry Contests
Milwaukee Irish Fest offers two poetry prizes annually; each award is $100. Winners will be announced at Irish Fest during the poetry events on Sunday afternoon, August 16, in the Hedge School in the Cultural Village on the south end of the grounds. Only the winners will be notified of the contests’ outcomes, during the first week of August; the winners’ names will be posted online by September.
The poetry awards will be given to the entries best reflecting Irish or Irish-American poetry traditions. Although the poems do not necessarily need to have direct Irish or Irish-American themes, the winning entries should have a culture/literary relation to either Ireland, Irish-America, or to Irish poetry.
- The Donn Goodwin Prize is named after a Wisconsin poet, linguist, and educator who was active in supporting poetry events at Irish Fest. This contest is open to all.
- The Joseph Gahagan Prize is awarded in the memory of the man who served as poetry consultant to the Fest for many years. This contest is limited to current residents of Wisconsin, only.
Rules for Submitting Entries
Please read all instructions before submitting your form. Submissions that do not follow these instructions will be omitted from consideration.
- Each contestant may submit no more than one poem. However, Wisconsin residents may submit one poem for each contest.
- Each entry should be the poet's original work and should not have appeared previously in publication.
- Entries will be accepted only between June 1 and August 1, 2021. They must be received by August 1, 2021 to be considered.
- All entries must be typed and mailed. No handwritten, faxed or e-mailed subbmissions.
- All entries should be mailed to:
Milwaukee Irish Fest
1532 Wauwatosa Ave
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
- Each entry should have a cover sheet stapled to the entry that contains
- The poet's name, address, telephone number and e-mail address
- The poem's title and a label indicating which contest the poet is entering.
- The poet's name or other identifying information should appear only on the cover sheet.
Due to the large number of submissions, entries will not be acknowledged nor returned. Contestants are urged to write the mailing address clearly and to use a return address on the envelope.
On The Grounds Limerick Contest
Information on the Limerick Contest is located in the Information Cottage on the South end of the grounds in the Cultural Village. Entries will be available to fill out and drop off. Winner will be called following the festival.
View Past Winners
Red Hair & Freckles Contests
If you are of the age 0 to 12 years old, have freckles and/or red hair, please join the fun and enter either or both of the contests in 2021. Each winner receives a trophy or medal and is invited to be a part of the festival parade. Registration is before the contest at the Crossroads area booth.
Saturday at 2:00 pm in the Crossroads Area
Red Hair Contest
Sunday at 2:00 pm in the Crossroads Area
*Sign-up starts at 1:30 pm each day
View Past Winners
Example of Previous Raffle Prizes
Join the fun in Irish Fest's annual raffle and you could win some fantastic prizes! The raffle is located at the Raffle and Information booth
- Round trip transportation for two to Ireland (courtesy of Aer Lingus)
- Land package courtesy of Celtic Tours/Hertz for 6 nights, 7 days
- Harvey's Point in Donegal for 2 nights
- Great Southern Hotel in Killarney for 2 nights
- Original Irish Hotel in Northern Ireland for 2 nights
- 7 nights at Olde Ground Hotel, Ennis, County Clare - courtesy of Harp & Eagle Limited and Olde Ground hotel. Includes daily breakfast and airfare for two.
Raffle tickets can be purchased on the grounds for $3 for one ticket, $10 for five tickets, and $20 for twelve tickets
Cash Prizes - $300
- Thursday, August 15: $300 cash drawing at 9:00 pm
- Friday, August 16: $300 cash drawing at 7:00 pm and 11:30 pm
- Saturday, August 17: $300 cash drawing at 7:00 pm and 11:30 pm
"My husband and I would like to thank Milwaukee Irish Fest and all the very kind and helpful people at Celtic Tours who made our trip to Ireland such a great experience! The trip worked out better than I had ever imagined. Celtic Tours was very easy to work with and once we were on our way, things could not have gone more smoothly! We enjoyed every minute of our trip, particularly once my husband got used to driving on the 'other' side of the road! Truly, everything was amazing and there were absolutely no problems! We enjoyed the natural beauty of Ireland, learnin about its history, and met some very nice people. My husband was even able to 'hook up' with a fishing guide once we were in Killarney and spent a long morning fishing, while I did some shopping and watched the Royal Wedding! The accommodations were all lovely, particularly the night at Ballyseede Castle, which was an unexpected treat! Thank you again Milwaukee Irish Fest!" ~ Bruce and Julia R.
View Past Winners