From Miramichi Online – July 19, 2014. After only one day of events, the perfect weather is making the festival organizers look like geniuses, and will probably help fund a revival that the festival desperately needs.
As one of the people in attendance at the Irish Festival put it, “I think they have somebody looking out for them.”
Elaine Morrison was enjoying the sunshine and the music at Waterford Green along with hundreds of other people attending the afternoon festivities of the Irish Festival. She said she had been coming to festival for years, and was thrilled with the coincidence of perfect weather and the gamble of moving it outdoors.
Morrison was sitting with Gurty Lynch, who said she felt it was a move in the right direction.
The festival also thought to make the event attractive to families and had lots of things to do for kids including three enormous jumping castles. At a glance, it looked like half of the people enjoying the pipe band and Nelson Doyle Dancers were families with young children.
A family of four, including two young children, were enjoying the breakfast at St. Mike’s this morning. The Forgrave family said they attended the opening ceremonies that were held Friday night. “They were beautiful,” Mrs. Forgrave said. They planned on taking in other events, and thought the outdoor theme was terrific.
Paddy Quinn, co-president of the festival this year, said there could not be happier with the event so for. “We didn’t have a plan B,” Quinn said.
Quinn said aside from the cost of setting up a stage, the donations from the city and local businesses for things like the perimeter fence made the festival cheaper to run. Quinn said the earlier numbers indicate that the festival could draw 5 times as many paid attendees as last year’s festival. He said they could then spend more money on larger tents for future festivals, that would eliminate the possibility of the weather ruining the fun.
Businesses appeared to be benefitting from the activity on Waterford Green. parking spots were hard to come by, and there were a lot of people shopping on in Historic Downtown Chatham.
MO))) also talked to a couple who have only missed 2 festivals in the past 31 years. Ted and Joanne Carroll are from Melrose, NB (near Confederation Bridge). They both liked the outdoor venue, but said if there had not been any shade or breeze, it might have been a bit much for them. The festival had a small tent erected so people could get out of the sun. There was not a cloud in the sky, and temperatures were hovering above 28 celsius.
The Carroll’s said they also hoped the festival would enjoy a resurgence with the outdoor venue, so they could afford to bring back some of the Irish musical acts that were big draws in the early days of the festival.
Other people said they also enjoyed the outdoor venue, and were planning on coming to the Saturday night pub featuring the Town Pants. One person who did not want to be named said they faithfully attended the festival for years, and felt it was a home-coming of sorts, and enjoyed seeing people he had not seen in years. “But eventually,” he said, “The crowd got too young for my tastes.”