Youths are drawn to Irish dancing for any number of reasons.

“It could be family heritage. It could be the girls see it, try it and fall in love with it,” said Melissa Valentino.

She should know. She’s the mom of an Irish dancer, Cierra Trapani, who will be performing with other members of the Kavanagh Porter Warren Academy as part of Fishermen’s Village’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration.

The family-friendly event is scheduled from noon to 9 p.m. March 17. Admission is free. Fishermen’s Village is located at 1200 W. Retta Esplanade in Punta Gorda.

The Irish dancers, a troupe made of girls ranging in age from 13 to 22, are scheduled to perform at 4:30 p.m. at Center Court. Their 30-minute show will include the easily-heard, highly recognizable hard-shoe dancing as well as the quieter soft-shoe variation.

It will be their first performance at Fishermen’s Village.

“The girls are excited,” said Valentino, a North Port resident. “They love to perform, and they love crowds. St. Patrick’s Day is always fun.

Kathy Burnam, marketing and events manager for Fishermen’s Village, has lined up a full day of entertainment.

The traditional Irish music show by Mark Fitzpatrick and Eddie Dillon is tailor-made for St. Patrick’s Day. Originally from Boston, Dillon is a multi-instrumentalist — guitar, mandolin, banjo and bass — blended with a little Irish wit. Fitzpatrick, a singer/songwriter, has toured with Ireland folk singers The Clancy Brothers.

Dillon and Fitzpatrick are scheduled to perform from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Center Court.

Other festivities include singer Paul Cottrell from noon to 4 p.m. at Center Court; singer Jim Garee from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. near Good ‘Ole Days Coffee; and Punta Gorda Isles’ Dave Heveron and friends from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the third section of Village.

The Lee County Pipes & Drums corps will parade and perform from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Center Court.

The event will also include face painting and other activities for the kids. Village restaurants will feature Irish food specials.

“We are thrilled to once again feature our annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration,” Burnam said. “We’ll have live music in all three sections, the always popular Lee County Pipes & Drums parade, and a performance new to Fishermen’s Village, the Irish dancers from Kavanagh Porter Warren Academy.

“It will be a very special day and we invite the community to come celebrate with us. Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day!”


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