One of the largest gatherings of Irish pride takes place this Memorial Day weekend in Chicago when 250,000 people will dance, sing, hurl and maybe even raise a pint to celebrate their Celtic culture at the Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest.

It all kicks off Friday at 3 p.m. (early birds can get in half price for the first hour), and the festivities will continue through Monday.

Six stages are set up at the Chicago Irish festival to start the summer with a musical bang with artists like the Screaming Orphans, The Bridies and Beatles tribute band American English ready to rock the weekend.

Irish traditional music will also be played all weekend, and festival goers will be sure to here plenty of Irish pipes, drums and Ceili music.

Gaelic Park wouldn’t be Gaelic Park without the games, and there is a full slate of fixtures to showcase hurling and football over the festival weekend.

If your kids don’t go gaga over the GAA, then have no fear: carnival rides, petting zoos, free pony rides and a children’s entertainment tent will provide enough fun for all your young ones.

Dog lovers can get their woof on at the Irish Dog Exhibition, where nine Irish breeds of dog will showcase our canine heritage.

There will be a performing arts stage, where theater performances from Milwaukee Irish Arts, Alsip Players and Standby Productions will take place.

Keeping the Irish culture alive through Irish dance, local Irish dance schools, from The Cross Keys School of Irish Dancing, to Lavin – Cassidy, Mullane, Dennehy and many others, will perform for spectators.

You’re not Irish if you don’t love a good cup of tea, and you can drink your fill at the Chicago Irish festival’s dedicated tea room.

Culture is the key element at the festival and the Irish cultural tent will be your HQ for everything cultural from learning how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness, to learning Gaelic.

General admission for the weekend is $15, but those over 65 and under 12 pay only $12, while kiddies under 3 get in for free.

If you show up between noon and 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, the general admission is only $10.

For more information on the Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest, Memorial Day Weekend 2009, visit their Web site.