Lake Michigan will be the backdrop for Irish Fest Thu.-next Sun. at Henry Maier Festival Park. Visitors will come to hear dozens of local and international artists perform on multiple stages, and immerse themselves in Celtic culture. The annual event also includes games, favorite Irish fare and drinks, literary events, art, exhibits, shopping and more. Hours are 5-10 p.m. Thu., 4 p.m.-midnight Fri., noon-midnight Sat., 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sun. Tickets are $5 (Thu. only) to $38 (four-day pass),

Barnesville, Minn.

Thousands of spuds fans are expected to check out Potato Days, a free festival highlighting Barnesville’s potato production history, on Aug. 24-25. Each year, the town (located about 200 miles northwest of the Twin Cities on Interstate 94) draws residents and visitors to dozens of potato-related activities, including the popular mashed-potato sculpting, potato peeling, picking and cooking contests, a potato-sack fashion show, games, races, a car show and more. Also all things potato (and other food as well) will be available to eat, including potato dumplings, potato pancakes, potato sausage and of course, French fries (

Albert Lea, Minn.

Hungry for ribs and more? Head to the Big Island Bar-B-Que state championship Aug. 24-25 at the Freeborn County fairgrounds. On Friday, food fans can feast on steak, chili and chicken wings and on Saturday grill masters will compete to see who can wow the judges with the best grilled ribs and other meat. Visitors can buy food and drinks from vendors only (

Colleen A. Coles