Frontline workers at Irish Fest, ceremony honors COVID heroes

After a year off due to the coronavirus pandemic, Milwaukee Irish Fest organizers wanted to honor the people who helped the city get to the point where a 2021 festival was possible – recognizing frontline workers on Saturday, Aug. 21.

Frontline workers were allowed into Irish Fest for free Saturday afternoon, with organizers wanting essential workers of all kinds to know they are appreciated.

With Irish dancers gracing the stage at Milwaukee Irish Fest, a few stages over was a celebration of a different kind.

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"When COVID first happened, we were looking for ways that we could do something," said an organizer.

Each person on stage during the ceremony to honor frontline workers represented an industry that worked all throughout 2020 – people like Jeremy Watson, a UPS driver.

"I’ve been looking forward to this moment for a very long time," said Watson. "We getting recognized as frontline workers as delivery drivers. It’s awesome."

Celtic MKE Executive Director Mike Mitchell said there obviously weren't enough seats on stage to go around.

"There’s no way of being able to identify them other than doing a global, everybody is a frontline worker who even feels like they are a frontline worker," said Mitchell. "Let us thank you for what you’ve done." 

Watson's smile showed how much a simple thank you can mean. He said he planned to hang his new certificate where his two kids will be able to see it every day.

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"This is definitely a proud dad moment," said Watson. "I’m happy dad right now, for sure." 

Irish Fest partnered with Northwoods to create a website to celebrate the stories of frontline workers. 

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