The organizers of the inaugural Hoboken Irish Cultural Festival wanted to create an event that was a celebration of Irish American culture. One that would welcome families while not excluding the fun of music, dance and (of course) beer. And they did a wonderful job.
This was a fun night that truly had the potential to bring back the original vision of Parade Day and not the drunken mess it had become. Instead we had a night of live music, folks dancing, children running around with dogs, tasty fried foods, the aforementioned beer and a cooperative Mother Nature making it a great start on the road to that vision.
On a personal note, this was a night for me to run into and catch up with friends I don’t get to see very much these days. If that was all this night was meant to be, it would be plenty. You see, the point of the parade back in the day was to bring family and friends together which is exactly what happened here.
So could this be a way to bring Hoboken’s Parade back? It’s hard to say, but one thing is for sure; the conversation has begun again. One suggestion I had that seemed to go over well with those I told was to let the drunk idiots have Washington Street on the first Saturday in March. Move the parade on that same day over to Sinatra Drive. Make it a big street fair that ends up at Sinatra Park where there would be music, food, beverages and fun.
One of the more fun moments came very early in the evening with an adorably chaotic step dancing exhibition from Garden Street Dance. A bevy of cute kids jumping around as only cute kids can. It was really fun to watch.
My only critique would be that the cordoned off area for the beer drinking was too far off to the side of the festival area and a little too dark. Simply shifting its location to the other side of the pavilion (formerly Crepe Grill) could make a big difference.