Back in 2001, my Irish language teacher came up with the idea of our Gaelic League group sponsoring a cultural tent at the Dublin Irish Festival. He wanted a Wake House, a place where we could recreate the wakes of days gone by with music, stories, craic...you get the idea. Well, I volunteered to create the "corpse"--a stuffed body that my kids dubbed "Grandpa Lumpy" and I made up a tombstone (foam, a magic marker and some stone-look spray paint). After a bit of research, I also worked up a couple of handouts and the tent came into existence.
It was a hit from early on, with #2 Son demonstrating some of the games played and new items/descriptions added to the display yearly. I even wrote my own little booklet about wakes for those who wanted more info. Not only have thousands seen the Wake Tent at the Dublin festival, we've taken it to other festivals--most notably the Michigan Irish Music Festival
in Muskegon the past two years. We even helped a Columbus cemetery celebrate their bicentennial in 2006.