Irish eyes smiling as events gear up
UTICA — Organizers and participants of the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade and celebration are gearing up for this year’s festivities with a series of events to highlight and promote the region’s Irish culture and heritage.
The public is invited to the Great American Irish Festival Grand Marshal Reception to be held on Wednesday, March 13, the Stanley Performing Arts Center, 259 Genesee St., from 5 to 8 p.m.
The annual event features the passing of the shillelagh from last year’s grand marshal, Vaughn Lang, to this year’s, Judy Weeks, as well an array of food from area restaurants along with beer, wine and soda and entertainment by Craobh Dugan.
Admission is $15 at the door.
Area residents are also invited to help celebrate Irish culture by donning their green attire and heading to one of the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York on Saturday, March 17.
The parade will step off at 10 a.m. along Genesee Street in Utica.
The parade will be preceded by a new event — the St. Patrick’s Day Mad Mile — a road race along the Genesee Street route sponsored by the Sneaker Store in New Hartford.
In addition to the parade, fans of Irish culture can also enjoy the annual Irish Festival which will be held this year July 27-28 at the Herkimer County Fairgrounds in Frankfort.
This event features an array of performers, food, exhibits as well as a bagpipe competition and other activities and events. Information about the festival, as well as the preliminary lineup of bands and entertainment, is available online at gaif.us or at the Great American Irish Festival Facebook page under the page’s events listing.