Billed as the “the greatest weekend of the year in Newtown” by some, the 8th Annual Newtown Irish Festival reached its crescendo in the outdoor tent at the Green Parrot Restaurant & Pub on St. Patrick's day.
Other people, including some nearby Newtown Borough residents, do not think the festival is so great (watch this short video clip of the pro and con debate before the February 14, 2018, Board of Supervisors meeting). I’ve even heard criticisms that the Festival brings “drunken hooligans” into our quiet, peaceful town!
I’m not of Irish descent, but like everybody else, I’m Irish on St. Paddy’s Day. This year my wife and I decided to join the celebrations.
First, on St. Patrick's day eve, we attended a concert by Larry Kirwan at the Zlock Performing Arts Center on the Bucks County Community College campus.
Through a mixture of story-telling, acting, and singing Kirwan brought Irish history alive with emphasis on The Great Hunger of 1847, Emigration to America, The Celtic Revival, 1916 Uprising, and the recent “Troubles.” Kirwan ended the concert with a call for a united Ireland!
But I just had to see – and hear – for myself what all the hubbub was about regarding the Newtown Irish Festival. So, my wife and I decided to use all my “influence” – i.e., a $23 Event Bright ticket – to get into the tent on Saturday night around 6 pm.
I guess you could say that the crowd was “motley.” But I would also say they were polite as we wended our way through the crowd to reach the bar and order a couple of beers. We then had to squeeze through more attendees to get to a spot where we could see the band and claim a few square feet of floor space.
The music was loud and punctuated with more or less “relentless pounding bass” that encouraged some people to dance and many to sing along to favorite “Irish” songs like “Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver! The following clip may be more representative of Irish songs sung at the festival:
I’ll have to wait and see if there was any police action – I certainly did not see any rowdy behavior when I was there. What I did see was a bus that provided free transportation to anywhere within 3 miles of the event. I also saw that the surrounding restaurants were crowded with long waits to get seated. When we asked how long the wait was at the Sycamore Grill, we were told “longer than you want to wait.”
I applaud the owners of the Green Parrot as well as the neighbors in the Borough for reaching a compromise regarding this year’s Festival; namely, accepting a 2-day permit for the outdoor portion of the event rather than four days as was originally planned. Nevertheless, the Festival lasted 4 days – 2 days inside on the porch and 2 days outside in the tent.
Posted on 17 Mar 2018, 18:01 - Category: Newtown