Getting Gaelic: Brooklynites fête Irish culture at Coney Island’s 37th-annual Great Irish Fair

Luck of the Irish: Members of the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Committee sold merchandise at The Great Irish Fair in Coney Island to raise money for their March event.
Photo by Mike Beitchman

Call it the luck of the Irish.

A beautiful day: Diane and Bruce Brodinsky enjoyed the festivities at the event.
Photo by Mike Beitchman

The 37th-annual Great Irish Fair at Coney Island’s Ford Amphitheater on Sept. 22 was one of the best attended in the event’s history, as Kings Countians with Celtic roots paid tribute to Gaelic culture. One musician who took the stage to play folk tunes with his band said this year’s event was one of the best he had been to, and that attendees seemed to revel in the celebratory atmosphere.

Merch for sale: Brian Cogan and Thomas Harkins showed off the Canny Brothers Band’s merchandise.
Photo by Mike Beitchman

“It was a really great day, and the weather was fantastic, and the turnout was phenomenal,” said Keith Fallon, the singer and guitar player for the Canny Brothers Band. “The reception was fantastic — you could tell the people were really into it and dancing and singing along. Every year it’s gotten better.”

Luck of the Irish: Green shamrocks adorned the event.
Photo by Mike Beitchman

The band’s road manager added that the event and other ones like it are important ways to help preserve and perpetuate Irish culture, especially among youngsters.

Sing it out: Keith Fallon of the Canny Brothers sang on stage with Shilelagh Law.
Photo by Mike Beitchman

“It’s really nice to see so many people participating,” said Thomas Harkins. “It’s great to see a lot of young people involved as well — that’s how these things kind of get passed down.”

Them too: U2 tribute band Unforgettable Fire performed some of the band’s best hits.
Photo by Mike Beitchman

When attendees weren’t rocking out to Celtic tunes at the fair, they sipped on stouts and shopped for shamrock-adorned goods. And some bought raffle tickets to support Bay Ridge’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade, helping raise at least $1,300 for next year’s parade, according to the committee president.

Rock on: Anthony Russo of Unforgettable Fire, the U2 tribute band, rocked the event.
Photo by Mike Beitchman

“It went very well — everybody was saying it’s the biggest crowd that they ever had,” said Denise Frederick.

Another musician who performed with U2 tribute band Unforgettable Fire said the crowd loved their takes on the band’s classic hits — including “One,” “Where the Streets Have No Name,” and “I Will Follow” — and that the sunny skies and festive vibe made the day a success.

“The weather was great, the crowd was great, the atmosphere was the great,” said Anthony Russo.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.

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