To celebrate Irish culture the weekend following St. Patrick’s Day, the Vogt Visual Arts Center set out to host its annual Irish Tea on March 19.
The event not only served as a place to celebrate Irish culture prior to the kickoff of the annual Irish Parade but also gives people a chance to view the Open Photography exhibit.
“It’s been a big turnout every year,” said Erin Cortilet, a recreation supervisor at Tinley Park-Park District. “The beautiful weather, of course, has cooperated. It’s a free event that we love to put on… to showcase the open photography exhibit that we do every [year] in March.”
“Since we’re just a half block east of the parade route, I think it’s a nice convenient location. We’ve had some new people come out this year, so we’re happy to still get the word out [about the Vogt Visual Arts Center]. People are learning about our facility, learning about the history of the VVAC, being able to learn about our art classes, and showcase all this fine artwork. We look forward to putting it on for years to come.”
That Sunday, the Vogt Visual Arts Center was decked out with Irish-themed decorations in line with the village’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Refreshments were also available, as visitors looked to enjoy bites of scones and Irish soda bread between sips of Irish and iced teas.
This year’s event brought in between 50 and 100 people to view the Open Photography showcase.
“The event… continues to grow every year, so hopefully, a couple hundred will make their way through,” Cortilet said. “It seems like a lot of people are stopping on their way to the parade route itself, and that’s what we want—is just for families to stop in and enjoy [for] a few minutes.”
Kathy Fedanzo, of Tinley Park, was mingling with her neighbor Roberta Morris.
“I’ve been coming here for a couple years,” Fedanzo said. “ I read about it in the paper. I like to look at the photographs, and I like the tea.”
Fedanzo said the Irish Tea serves as a good way to celebrate her roots.
“I like tea, I like scones; it’s great,” she said.
Orland Park’s Vicki Skafar dropped in to view the exhibit with her husband and their children.
“I found it online a few years ago, and we make sure we come back every year.”
Her husband, Joe, shared that sentiment.
“[We] make it a routine,” he said. “It’s just our little thing to do as a family.”
Vicki said she thinks it’s clever for the arts center to time the event with the Village parade.
“It’s a good reason to come here and look at the art, and then we have some snacks before we go to parade,” she said.
Vicki said though she may not be Irish, it’s great knowing that everyone can feel a little bit Irish during this time of year.
“Everyone can celebrate and have fun, and it’s a good family event,” she said.
Cortilet said the Park District loves to put on events for the whole family to enjoy.
“We have all ages that have come out today,” Cortilet said, noting that attendees have the opportunity vote on their favorite piece of art for the People’s Choice Award. This year’s Open Photography exhibit—which features approximately 100 artists—will run until Saturday, March 25.