Hoboken “Irish Festival”
Outdoor Irish Festival in Hoboken – in the winter!
The Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade was traditionally held on the first Saturday in March over the past several decades.
The parade itself, was a short event where bands, bagpipe arrangements, and floats marched down Washington Street and entertained families, residents and visitors alike who congregated along the parade route to take part in the local Irish culture.
Some say the parade was held much earlier than the actual St. Patrick’s Day because “all the good bands were booked.” While others suspect it was simply marketed that way so that the local economy (read: bars, pizza places, liquor stores and the occasionally trashed toilet bowl or port-o-potty) would see added “action.”
The last several years saw apparently increased violence and property damage (due in part possibly by reduced police staffing).
Due to political “pressure,” the Mayor deemed no parade would take place on a weekend when families are home during the day – instead limiting the date for A parade on a Wednesday. The Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade Committee realized that simply doesn’t work (for more reasons than one) – and chose to cancel ALL parade festivities in town.
However – over 13,000 confirmed attendees are making their own drunk-fest (minus a real parade) with Hoboken Lepre-Con 2012.
So in essence – we’ll have potentially the same (or worse) drunken antics – and even less ethnic culture.
Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival emerges
In lieu of the Hoboken St. Patrick’s Parade – some organizers in the city felt an OUTDOOR (six hour) Irish “Festival” in the winter, and starting on a Wednesday afternoon – would be a good idea.
This new event – The Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival – is scheduled for Wednesday, March 14, 2012 – starting at 4pm, at both the Hoboken Little League Field – as well as Sinatra Park (near the collapsing waterfront pier – and out-of-business concession stand).
It will feature demonstrations of “Hurling” (a traditional Gaelic sport – not drunk vomiting), some Irish Step dancers from the Garden Street School of Performing Arts – and a few Irish bands. There will be some food which proceeds are in turn donated to a charity that helps American soldiers abroad.
Part of this event is being managed by the same folks that brought you the Pier Sessions uptown the past few summers – which was indeed a fun event, and held when it was warm and stayed light outside past 9pm.
Does Hoboken want the festival to be “doomed” on purpose?
Hoboken411 has received feedback from some residents who caught wind of this “replacement” festival – and consider it a bit of a farce.
Said one Hoboken mom: “It’s even worse than I thought. Hurling at 4 and then step dancing at 6 – in different locations? That’s why people enjoyed the parade. They go plant their kids in one spot and watch the show for an hour. Mayor Zimmer thinks people are going to run all over town in the dark after school? Not us! We have after school activities and homework. That’s the witching hour 4-10pm. When you have kids you do Halloween because it’s a long standing tradition and it’s fun. Hurling? Step dancing? Not so much…”
Another Hoboken resident wonders about funding and other ethnic groups: “How are they going to pay for it? The St. Patrick’s Parade Committee raised tens of thousands of dollars through private fund raising and maintains a bank account. Is the city just going to put up a resolution for the council to approve more spending? What if other ethnic groups then want their day of celebration? We have a lot of Germans, Indians, etc.”
If you want an event to fail – hold it outdoors in the winter, during the middle of the week. Would the city hold their semi-annual Arts & Music Festival on a Wednesday in February? Absolutely not. In all, this appears to be a half-assed effort to replace a successful event.