Above: Ed Bulger and Brian Maxwell play an Irish tune during the Champion Regional Series: Eat, Drink & Be Irish Event Saturday night in Morinville. – Stephen Dafoe Photos

by Stephen Dafoe

Just over a month after packing Smith Plaza for Dinner Time in the Maritimes, an evening of East Coast food and music, the concert venue was packed once again for Saturday night’s Champion Regional Series: Eat, Drink and Be Irish event.

Organizer Paul Smith said the St. Patrick’s Day-themed event was a no-brainer after the popularity the month before of a group that can play Irish music and Celtic music.

Smith largely took a backseat Saturday night, accompanying fellow musicians Ed Bulger, Byron Myhre and Brian Maxwell on bass for two full sets of Irish music, including Wild Rover, Irish Rover, Orange and the Green, and Good Night, Irene. The audience was serenaded during the Green Been’s buffet by Andrea Mallon, playing Irish music on Harp.

Champion Petfoods was the sponsor of the event, having invested $10,000 in 2015 to put on a series of entertainment and cultural events that focus on fresh regional food ingredients, and local, and regional musical talent. The local company just invested another $2,000 for 2017 to keep the regional food and entertainment ball rolling.

Smith announced on stage prior to the concert that the next Champion Regional Series event would be called Bison and Bluegrass and will feature the talents of Byron Myhre and his father, Canadian Fiddle Legend Alfie Myhre.

The show takes place June 17 at Smith Music Plaza with cocktails at 6 p.m., dinner at 7 p.m. and the show at 8 p.m. Smith is hoping to have tickets on sale soon for the event. Ticket buyers must be a member of Musicians for Morinville. The free membership is available by visiting Smith Music of calling them at 780-862-0340.

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