"We decided to put off the festival last year because of Sept. 11," said festival organizer Mike Ryan. "We had a ceremony for the victims before the St. Patrick's Day Parade last year. After that we had a reception for them at the Loews New Jersey Theater in Journal Square."
According to Mike Jenner, another festival organizer and an adjutant on the Jersey City St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Irish Festival will start at 11 a.m. and run until 7 p.m. "This will be a one day, rain or shine event," said Jenner. "The admission is, of course, free."
Featured at the Festival will be a number of Irish musical acts, reflecting, Ryan said, the various types of Irish music.
"The performance stage will be set up at across the bus stops near the pie walkway at Exchange Place," said Ryan. "At 11 a.m., Mary G and the Shamrocks will perform for two hours."
Jenner described Mary G and the Shamrocks as a traditional Celtic music group that often plays in Hudson County.
"At one in the afternoon the Irish step dancers will take the stage," said Ryan. "They will be on for about a half an hour. Then at 1:30 p.m. the Gray and Dempsey Experience are set to perform."
Gray and Dempsey Experience specialize in Irish folk songs and humorous tunes, according to Ryan.
At five, the Eamon Ryan Showband will take the stage and play until just before 7 p.m. Eamon Ryan Showband is another local band at the Festival, said Jenner. They play music closer to rock and roll, but still includes Irish music in their songs.
"At seven o'clock we'll have the 50-50 raffle," added Ryan.
Located behind the performance stage will be seven different children's rides. Included among the rides will be a trackless train and small merry-go-round.
"Last year we charged $2 per ride, but this year we've decided to bring down the price to a dollar," said Jenner. "We wanted to make the rides more accessible for underprivileged children. Anyone can afford a dollar."
Food and crafts stalls will be deployed along Montgomery Street between Hudson and Green Streets, Ryan said.
"In all there will be 39 booths, divided between food and crafts, with the 39th booth being the beer truck by Green Street," Jenner added.
Both Ryan and Jenner hope to attract a large number of people to the Jersey City Irish Festival. Ryan has launched an advertisement campaign in both Essex and Hudson Counties.
"We've put out posters and lawn signs," said Ryan. "Radio Free Erin on WBAI will have an on-air phone call from the festival, and radio station Z-100 will probably be broadcasting there for some part of the day."
Ryan added that Jersey City Mayor Glenn Cunningham will be in attendance and Gov. James McGreevey may attend, also.
"We really want to get people back into their Irish roots," said Jenner. "Everyone is welcome at the festival."
For more information on the Jersey City Irish Festival, call (201) 386-0970 or go to the festival website at www.SaintPatricksDayParade.com.