Ship Bottom’s 7th annual Irish Festival began Sunday with a Mass in both Gaelic and English before moving on to the festivities.
Sponsored by the local Ancient Order of Hibernians’ John P. Holland, Division 4, the weekend-long festival was set to offer food, drinks, music and of course dancing on Sunday.
“We had to cut things short last night, but we hope to make up for it today,” said AOH member Kevin Lyons. He said a strong storm front that moved through around 7 p.m. on Saturday had vendors packing up early and caused the concert by Shortly Long and the Jersey Horns to be cut short.
On Sunday though, it appeared, as the Irish would say, “the Good Lord took a liking to them.” Under the tent that would soon feature Irish pipers, step dancers and LBI’s all-time favorite Irish singer Mike Byrne, hundreds gathered to hear Mass and take communion.
Outside the tent, vendors were preparing for the day under bright skies, large power puff clouds and not a hint of rain to be seen. Dan Hagan, who had passed on Saturday due to the weather, was there with his wife and Bailey, an Irish setter they had rescued. "We looking for a good time," said Hagan.
So was Allyn Kain of Surf City, who was getting an early start on some Christmas shopping for her grandson. The selection was pretty vast, if you where looking for something in green. Hats, shirts, boas, even rosary beads could be had from the 40 vendors in attendance. In addition, there were, Irish CDs, statues, banners, plaques, paintings and jewelry from ornate Celtic crosses to shamrocks.
One resourceful food vendor, Four Bee’s from Surf City known for the Polish delicacies, even offered corned beef and cabbage pierogis.
The proceeds of the two-day festival all go to charities and scholarships, including many veterans organizations, said Lyons."Last week we were broke, this week we made some money, and next week we'll be broke again," local AOH President Bernie Snyder told Patch, adding that whatever does not go to direct costs involving the festival, gets donated.