Coney Island is experiencing a resurgence, with the success of the new minor league baseball team, the Cyclones, and the popular educational programs at the New York Aquarium.
Another reason to visit Coney Island this weekend is the 21st Annual "Great Irish Fair," to be held from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday September 8 and Sunday September 9 at Dreier Offerman Park. The site is located on Shore Parkway, between Cropsey Avenue and Bay Parkway, and is convenient to the Belt Parkway (take Exit 6N and make a left on 26th Avenue and another left on Shore Parkway). There is plenty of free parking available.
And why is the "Great Irish Fair" so great? Well, start with the music, which is continuous on seven stages throughout the grounds. Hear traditional ceili bands like Bog the Donkey and the McCabes;more modern Irish bands like the New York Showband and the John Morrison Band, or well known Irish American entertainers like Andy Cooney and Johnny Murphy. In addition, you can watch Irish stepdancers and thrill to the skirl of the warpipes from such bands as the Police, Fire, Sanitation and Correction Dept. Emerald Societies.
And then there's the food, from such well-known Irish restaurants as Kennedy's, Buckley's and Peggy O'Neill's, and the opportunity to shop for Irish jewelry, sweaters, crystal, paintings, books, and souvenirs from a multitude of vendors.
The "Great Irish Fair" also promotes awareness of the contributions of the Irish to the building of this great country. Each year, the "Chief Brehon" Award is presented to a prominent Irish American for his or her contributions to society. This year's
"Chief Brehon" is John T. Comer, Superintendent
of District 22 of the NYC Board of Education. In recognition of the Irish aptitude in pursuits literary, an "Irish Bard" Award is also presented to a prominent journalist, and this year's awardee is Hugh Mulligan, a retired correspondent with the Associated Press and a current writer for The Tablet. Additional honorees are hero firefighter Timothy Stackpole, recipient of the "Man of the Year" Award, and NYC Council Services Director Jim Lombard, recipient of the Paul O'Dwyer Award.
Perhaps the best reason to attend the "Great Irish Fair" is that the $10 entrance donation
goes to support the great work of Catholic Charities in the Diocese of Brooklyn and Queens.
The contribution helps over 180 programs for youth, seniors, the sick,the disabled, and the needy.
So if your looking for something to do this weekend, go to the Fair, and enjoy!