WATERLOO — The 12th annual Iowa Irish Fest kicks off Aug. 3 with sporting events for all types of athletes, including the inaugural Iowa Irish & Leprechaun Cup soccer tournament.
Other sporting events include the ShamRock N Run 5K Run/Walk, Highland Games, High Nelly Bike Rally and Iowa Irish Fest Rugby Tournament.
Iowa Irish Fest committee chairs are seeking teams for tournaments; participants for walks, runs and bike rides; and spectators for the traditional Highland Games. Participants for most events receive a weekend pass to the Iowa Irish Fest.
The inaugural Iowa Irish & Leprechaun Cup soccer tournament will be Aug. 4-5, at the Cedar Valley Soccer Complex, 3238 DeWitt Road, Waterloo. The tournament, hosted by the Cedar Valley Soccer Club, consists of six-person teams, with the U12-U14 division consisting of seven-person teams.
“Each year, Iowa Irish Fest aims to add another partner event to the jam-packed weekend of activities,” said Chad Shipman, Iowa Irish Fest director. “Soccer has been played in Ireland since the mid-1800s and with all the World Cup excitement, it’s a great year to host our first soccer tournament. The tournament is drawing many teams and families from outside the state that have never attended our fest. It is estimated it will bring upwards of 4,000 new people to the fest and will bring additional tourist dollars to the Cedar Valley.”
Divisions offered for the soccer tournament: Men’s Open, Men’s Over 35, Women’s Open and U12-U14 Boys and Girls (7v7).
Team registration includes weekend passes to the fest and discounted passes for families. Registration is open through July 27. Teams can sign up at CedarValleySoccerClub.org/page/show/4241778-leprechaun-cup. There will be a social meet and greet for all players on Aug. 3 at 5 p.m. in the Family Fun & Learning Area.
The 8th annual ShamRock N Run 5K will begin at 9 a.m. Aug. 4, at the corner of Park Avenue and Mulberry Street. Last year, the 5K drew more than 600 participants.
Each entrant will receive a T-shirt or tank top, a medal, free water, beer and snacks at the finish line. Runners and walkers older than 12 also will receive a free weekend pass to Iowa Irish Fest. The 3.1-mile course winds through downtown Waterloo and loops back to end on the corner of Park Avenue and Mulberry Street.
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Each participant is eligible for a door prize to be handed out at the end of the race. Organizers ask that no pets, bikes or outside drinks and coolers be brought to the race.
Registration is available online through Aug. 2 for $30, plus an online sign-up fee of $2.50 at RunSignup.com/Race/Events/IA/Waterloo/ShamRockNRun5k. After Aug. 2, participants can register the morning of the race for $35. Early packet pickup is available from 5:30 to 7 p.m. July 31 at Scheels in Cedar Falls and from 4 to 7:30 p.m. Aug. 3 at Main Gate 1 on the corner of Park Avenue and Mulberry Street. Participants also may pick up packets the morning of the 5K starting at 7:30 a.m.
The traditional Highland Games competition will be held in Lincoln Park from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Aug. 4. This year’s games include the Caber Toss, Sheaf Toss, Stone Put, Scottish Hammer Throw, Weight Throw and Weight Over the Bar. On Aug. 3, fest-goers can watch practice rounds and demonstrations of the Highland Games from 5 to 8 p.m. in Lincoln Park and learn more about the games at 7:50 p.m. in the Family Fun & Learning Area.
High Nelly Bike Rally
The 2nd annual High Nelly Bike Rally is an adult and family ride on Cedar Valley bike trails through downtown Waterloo and the surrounding area on Aug. 4, beginning at 10 a.m. Prior to Aug. 1, riders may register online for $30 for adults and $25 for youth ages 4-17 at Eventbrite.com/e/high-nelly-bike-rally-tickets-44581880605. Walk-up registration begins at 9 a.m. Registration includes a weekend pass into Iowa Irish Fest. A T-shirt also is guaranteed to those who register by Tuesday. There will be prizes for best vintage bike and best dressed Irish costume, as well as a raffle to win bikes.
The 4th annual Iowa Irish Fest Rugby Tournament is slotted for Aug. 4 at the Cedar Valley Soccer Complex, in Waterloo, starting at 8 a.m. A social for players will follow tournament play. Those wish to learn more about Rugby and the game rules can attend an informational presentation at 7 p.m. Aug. 3 in the Family Fun & Learning Area.
The cost of the tournament includes weekend passes to the fest and discounted passes for families. Registration is still open, teams can sign up by visiting https://www.universe.com/events/iowa-irish-fest-rugby-tournament-tickets-DV7G98.
There will be free shuttles to transfer rugby and soccer tournament participants and spectators between the Iowa Irish Fest and the Cedar Valley Soccer Complex.