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Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival announces:
As a 15-year resident of Hoboken, I have watched our St. Patrick’s Day celebration become more and more complicated—over the span of several City administrations. When this year’s Parade was cancelled I was disappointed, but more so by the events that led to the decision.
When I set about coordinating the Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival, my intention was to create an event that serves as a placeholder, not a replacement for the Parade. From the perspective of a writer, bartender and now a father as well, I understand the importance of the Parade while recognizing the need to mitigate the unruly behavior that has unfortunately become associated with it.
At first glance, it’s hard to see tens of thousands visitors to our city as a bad thing—until you see what has been left in their wake over the years. It is now apparent that Hoboken can expect this crowd on the first Saturday of March, with or without the Parade. Nevertheless, if we work together to properly manage that crowd, I’m confident it can be handled to the optimum benefit of the common good.
We have a year to set about doing that. I sincerely hope the Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival is the first step in that direction, and I look forward to incorporating future events with a restored Parade celebration.
I am exceedingly grateful for the City’s enthusiastic support of the Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival. Furthermore, after a phone conversation last week, I’m appreciative of Hoboken St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee member Helen Cunning's recognition of the merit of this event. I’m also grateful to the members of the Hoboken Hospitality Association who have come forward to lend their support for this event.
The inaugural Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival will be held Wednesday, March 14 from 4-10 pm at Sinatra Park on Hoboken's scenic waterfront.
The event will kick-off with a demonstration of the Gaelic sport of Hurling by the Hoboken Guards, the city's GAA (Gaelic Athletic Association) affiliated hurling squad—now entering their second season. Following the scrimmage, a youth clinic will be held for anyone interested in learning more about this fast-paced Irish pastime.
Traditional Irish Step Dancers will join the festivities from The Garden Street School of the Performing Arts (1018 Washington Street, 201-683-7078).
Music will start with an acoustic set from Hoboken Irish-American artist Will O'Connor. Dublin's George Murphy later takes the stage, delivering a gritty set of traditional Irish seisún music. Finally, New Jersey's Paddy and the Pale Boys take the stage, performing their own hard-charging, uniquely styled Irish-American sound.
The event is free to the public. Guinness, Harp and Smithwick's ales have been donated by Peerless Beverage. The Piper's Cove/Argyle Restaurant will be on hand vending Fish & Chips as well as other traditional Celtic fare. Proceeds from concessions will be donated via the Dr. Atlas Foundation to the Hoboken Shelter for the homeless and the Hoboken American Legion Post 107, which runs an Adopt-A-Soldier program to deliver carepackages to U.S. armed forces personnel overseas.
The celebration of Hoboken’s Irish cultural heritage has not been derailed, it has simply been scaled back so that we may fix the track.
Thank you, and I hope to see you all on Wednesday, March 14.
Sincerely and respectfully:
Christopher M. Halleron
Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival