This weekend is all about the luck of the Irish, as lively celebrations of the Irish culture kick off throughout the County. The Ancient Order of Hibernians will host their 22nd Annual Irish Fall Festival – the largest Irish festival on the East Coast – starting this Thursday, September 19th bright and early at 7:30 am. The festivities begin on the green, with a round of golf at the Cape May National Golf Course. The fee is to play is now $100 and includes golf fees, a continental breakfast, cart, cap, buffet, beer and many prizes.
Thursday evening, the official festival will begin where Olde New Jersey Avenue meets the ocean. The tent at The Pointe at Moore’s Inlet will be transformed into a boxing arena for ten amateur boxing bouts featuring the Harrowgate Boxing Club, Philadelphia, PA vs. the Holy Family Boxing Club, Belfast, Northern Ireland. These action-packed bouts begin at 7:30 pm. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, along Olde New Jersey Avenue, street vendors will display their Irish memorabilia while food vendors will offer a variety of Irish and non-Irish treats. Plus, Irish Festival guests can look forward to continuous live entertainment on Friday and Saturday until 10:30 pm.
A few miles north in Sea Isle City, plans are also in place to celebrate the Celtic culture with the city’s 6th Annual Irish Weekend. Co-sponsored by LaCosta and Kix McNutley’s, the festival features Irish market vendors, Irish food vendors, and live entertainment by Blackthorn and more Irish bands. Festivities will take place on September 20th, 21st, and 23rd. Check out www.lacosta-seaisle.com for a full entertainment schedule.
Beginning Friday evening, September 20th, Wildwood Crest hosts its annual Seafarers Celebration at Centennial Park. The Chatterband, one of the Delaware Valley’s most popular dance/party bands, opens Seafarers with their 7 pm performance. An incredible beachfront fireworks show will follow at 9 pm.
The Seafarers Celebration continues Saturday with a massive street festival along the beautiful banks of Sunset Lake. Browse the unique treasures from an array of craft vendors or savor delicious varieties of food. Kids are invited to compete in the fun-filled series of pie-eating and bubblegum-blowing contests held near Farragut Road that afternoon. Winners will be awarded prizes.
Over in Stone Harbor, also on Saturday the 21st, the Wetlands Institute sponsors a fun-filled festival all its own. Beginning at 9 am, the Fall Migration Festival celebrates the astounding density and diversity of bird species migrating through the Cape May Peninsula. This festival will provide a number of guided bird walks along local beaches and salt marshes, host leading lecturers in the birding field, give live animal demonstrations, and incorporate hands -n education and conservation activities for guests of all ages.
Farther inland, in the heart of Stone Harbor’s shopping district, the “Savor September” Festival kicks off that same Saturday afternoon. Enjoy the area’s best foods, wines, art and music on a beautifully tented 96th Street. Be the first to taste Tuckahoe Brewing Co.’s “Stone Harbor Brew” and Cape May Winery’s “Stone Harbor Red” and “Stone Harbor White,” made just for this occasion. Festival patrons will be able to enjoy one or all of the four musical acts slated to play the festival, including Eddie Morgan and Rek’d for Jazz. Get your stomp on at Stone Harbor’s Annual Grape Stomping Competition, beginning at 1 pm. Twenty four teams will have the opportunity to sign up and stomp their way to a Fabulous Foot Trophy.
Spend Sunday morning burning off those well-spent festival calories with the Run the Vineyards 5K. This 9 am 5K run is open to all levels of runners and starts and finishes at the beautiful Cape May Winery. The race’s course is relatively flat and scenic, consisting of roads and vineyard trails. Additional info, pictures, and on-line registration can be found on the organizer’s website at www.gooddayforarun.com. Reward yourself after the run with wine tastings, live music, and an awards ceremony. Every runner is a winner, with finisher medals awarded to all participants.
By Megan Kummer