2004 – Fred Kedney, Dancer (all kinds of dance) and financial supporter of IMDA programs (Fred funded one of the early IMDA compilation discs, and wrote a check when IMDA was in financial straits.)
2005 – Frank Joyce, co-founder of Gaeltacht Minnesota, the all-volunteer Irish language school, taught Irish for many years.
2007 – Martin McHugh, traditional musician, main-stay in sessions.
2008 – Jim Brooks, publisher of the Irish Gazette, our local Irish newspaper.
2009 – Ann Heymann, world-renowned traditional musician. Ann is a key contributor to a technique for playing and arrangement of music for the wire-strung harp.
2010 – Paddy O’Brien, world-renowned traditional musician, who has literally thousands of tunes and their history committed to memory.
2011 – Lar Burke, writer, and actor. A member of NaFianna Irish Theatre, staff at Irish Books and Media, active in Writer’s Week in Listowel, Ireland.
2012 – Kieran Folliard, business owner, Chair of the Irish Fair board at a critical time, financial supporter of IMDA and the Center for Irish Music.
2013 – Tom Dahill, musician, influential in founding the Great Northern Irish Pipers Club.
2014 – Laura MacKenzie, musician, and teacher.
2015 – Erin Hart, author, concert promoter, and co-founder of IMDA.
2016 – John McCormick, musician, active session participant, and instructor at the Center for Irish Music.
2017 – Will Kenny, informal leader of Gaeltacht Minnesota, taking over when Frank Joyce’s health began to fail, a long-time contributor to the IMDA newsletter, and a long-time contributor to Irish Fair.
2018 – Bill Conlan, well respected, longtime local musician, performed with the Gallivanters out of Gallivan’s in St. Paul for many years, early organizer and volunteer for the Irish Fair, and published the Irish Fair newsletter for several years.
2019 – Jenny Bach and Mary McNeive, both founders of the Mooncoin Ceili Dancers and the Crossroads School of Irish Dance, helped Irish traditional music and ceili and step dancing flourish in the Twin Cities for more than twenty years. Both are/were certified TCRG Irish dance teachers, and brought many dance teachers and set dance groups from Ireland to expand learning opportunities for local dancers. Sheila Jordan was a long-time member of Mooncoin Ceili Dancers and has both taught dance and danced for many years with Biddies Galore – Three Women Who Can’t Stop Dancing! bringing their own unique view of Irish dance to our celebration.