The Irish District Fest was founded in 2010 by two Cedar Rapids businessmen, Tom Erger and Dave Bader. The first annual festival was held June 12, 2010, as a fundraiser to help an ailing friend and neighborhood resident. After that friend passed away, the festival evolved into annual event to celebrate the neighborhood and benefit local music and arts education programs.
The Irish District Music and Arts Festival incorporated as a non-profit organization in 2011. The second annual festival was held on June 11, 2011, and was attended by around 700 people (up from 500 in 2010). Festival proceeds were used to buy choir robes for the music program at Polk Elementary School.
The subsequent festivals have been an official Freedom Festival event, and attendance has grown to over 1000 people. Proceeds from the festivals have been used to fund the Eastern Iowa Arts Academy Guitar Program.