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Irish eyes smiling

Lead Summary

Tom McGowan couldn’t help but smile when he was asked what makes Irish Fest special?“Well, I’ll tell you, even if you’re not from Lawler, if you come, you want to be from here,” said McGowan, who along with his wife Anita, were the grand marshals of the annual Irish Fest Parade Saturday. “It’s pretty fun, isn’t it?”It sure is, and for three days, Lawler grew exponentially as hundreds of former residents returned home and hundreds more out-of-town visitors took part in a celebration that was Irish to the core.Like bagpipes? Lawler was the place to be.Like history? Lawler was the place to be.Like catching up with old friends and making new ones? Lawler was the place to be.“It’s a pretty friendly town with a lot of characters,” Anita McGowan said. “It’s always been like that and it always will be.”And what makes Irish Fest work is simple. In a town of 439, give or take a few, it takes 100 volunteer shifts to put on Irish Fest, yet most, if not all, the shifts were filled.Most were done so by Lawler residents, but former residents chipped in, as did a few people who have never called Lawler home.“I think once people get here,” said Diana Gebel, who serves on the Irish Fest Committee, “they feel a part of it, even if they’ve never been to Lawler before. That, to me, is the beauty of Irish Fest.”

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