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The Great Irish Fair

It doesn't have to be St. Patrick's Day and you don't even have to be Irish to enjoy one of New York's premier Irish events. "The Great Irish Fair" will take place Saturday and Sunday ...

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It doesn't have to be St. Patrick's Day and you don't even have to be Irish to enjoy one of New York's premier Irish events.

"The Great Irish Fair" will take place Saturday and Sunday September 9 and 10 from 10 AM to 7 PM at Dreier Offerman Park in Coney Island, just off the Belt Parkway. The event, now in its 20th year, bills itself as the "largest Irish fair in the world," and that includes the Ould Sod.

Join the crowds who throng to the event to see such entertainment as Irish step dancing, bagpipe bands, and popular Irish music groups like the New York Showband and Pat Roper. Vendors will also be selling such Irish wares as Aran sweaters, Donegal tweed caps, Celtic crafts and jewelry, and paintings of the Emerald Isle. In addition, New York's finest Irish restaurants will be offering corned beef, Irish soda bread, Irish sausages and maybe even Irish coffee.

Admission to the fair is $10 per person and parking is free. This is the first year that the event will be held at Dreier Offerman Park after many years on the site of the old Steeplechase Park. That location was not available this year due to the construction of a new stadium for a Mets farm team. According to Chairman Al O'Hagan of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, the new site is superior, with more room for vendors and plenty of parking. Al adds that the event is also helping a good cause, since proceeds go to aid the work of Catholic Charities of the Brooklyn Diocese, celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

The fair's organizers are also honoring several of New York's Irish American journalists, including Ed Wilkinson, Editor of the Brooklyn Tablet; Jack Shanahan,retired City Hall Bureau Chief of the Associated Press; and former New York Daily News columnist Dick Ryan. The event's "Colleen Queen" is Brooklyn resident Lenore McFall, a nursing student at St. Vincent's Hospital of Staten Island.

To get to the fair from Long Island, take the Belt Parkway west to the Cropsey Avenue Exit and follow the signs to Shore Parkway. The fair entrance is on Shore Parkway between Cropsey and Bay Parkway.

For further information, call (718) 266-1234.