The largest Irish festival on the East Coast begins on Thursday, Sept. 20 and concludes on Sunday, Sept. 23. This festive four-day event is sponsored by James J. Reilly, Division 1, Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH). The AOH is an organization which fosters and preserves Irish culture and heritage.
The success of this festival has been overwhelming, and continues to draw more and more people each year. With over 100 vendors and 16 food vendors, this gathering will definitely be the place where you want to be!
The activities begin on Thursday, Sept. 20 at 1 p.m. with a round of golf at Cape May National Golf Course, Route 9 and Fairway Drive, Cape May Court House (two miles south of Route 47). The fee is $90 on or before Sept. 6 and $100 after Sept. 6, and includes green fee and cart, light lunch, dinner buffet, beer and many prizes. Space is limited and reservations are suggested. For additional information, please contact the AOH.
On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, the festivities will take place on Olde New Jersey Avenue. Here the street vendors will display their Irish memorabilia, and the food vendors will offer a variety of Irish and non-Irish treats. This activity begins at 8 a.m. each morning and continues until 7 p.m. On Friday and Saturday, there will be free live entertainment continuously from 12 to 8:30 p.m. The AOH is proud to announce the return of the beer garden located on the municipal parking lot at Spruce and Olde New Jersey avenues.
Saturday begins with a 5K run. If you are interested, you can sign up at 8 a.m. at the AOH tent (between 1st and 2nd avenues) on Olde New Jersey Avenue. Cash prizes will be awarded. For additional information on the run, visit www.TheIrishJog.com.
Saturday at 10 a.m., the Brian Riley Pipe Exhibition will take place at Bill Henfey Park located at 8th and Central avenues, North Wildwood. This event attracts thousands of spectators every year. Come see and hear some of the best pipe bands in the East!
Also on Saturday, the AOH will host free Irish dance lessons at the Knights of Columbus Hall, 206 North New Jersey Ave., located in the festival district at 2nd and Olde New Jersey avenues from 10 a.m. until noon. Parking is available.
On Friday and Saturday, there will be free live entertainment continuously from 10:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. The National Anthem will be sung at noon. Featured performers include Shenanigans, Broken Shillelaghs, Birmingham 6, Timmy Kelly, Shanties, Galway Guide, McHugh and O’Neil, Maura McKinney Mastro, Brothers McGillan and Ballina. In addition, Irish Schools of Dance will perform throughout both days.
On Sunday, everyone is welcome to celebrate our faith and heritage at Saint Anne’s Roman Catholic Church in the Notre Dame de la Mer Parish, Glenwood and Atlantic avenues, for 10:30 a.m. mass. There will be a procession starting at the main entrance to the altar by the Protectors of the Faith Guards, the Cape May County Emerald Society Honor Guard and a liturgical bag piper soloist.
Sunday at 12:30 p.m., the parade begins at 20th and Surf avenues and will continue to Spruce and Olde New Jersey avenues. Once again, we are honored to have Seamus Boyle, Past National President of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, as a special guest. The parade also will feature Miss North Wildwood, Annika Marks, many fraternal organizations, bag pipe bands, Irish dance groups and much, much more. All AOH organizations are welcome to be a part of this celebration of Irish history and heritage.
Irish food and entertainment will be available at most of the clubs and pubs in North Wildwood all weekend long.
As always, bus service will be available from the Anglesea Fire Hall – 2nd and Olde New Jersey Avenue along Surf Avenue to 26th Street. Additional bus service will be available through Wildwood and Wildwood Crest. For detailed information, please call (609) 884-5230 or visit www.gatrolley.com.
As a result of this extremely successful annual fundraising event, the AOH achieves significant charitable accomplishments. These contributions reflect the loyalty and ideals which have helped to strengthen our families, community and national character.
This festival is sponsored, in part, by Budweiser, the Greater Wildwood Tourism Improvement and Development Authority and the City of North Wildwood.
The AOH would like to acknowledge and thank Mayor Patrick Rosenello, City Council and the City of North Wildwood for their annual support of this event!
For additional information, contact the AOH at 1-800-IRISH-91 or visit www.cmcaoh.com.