Feb. 24, By Christian Murray
The 15th St. Pat’s for All Parade takes place on Skillman Avenue this Sunday and upon its conclusion many marchers and spectators are likely to head straight up to Queens Blvd. to participate in the second annual Sunnyside Irish Music Festival.
The festival, which officially starts at 3:30pm, is likely to draw hundreds of party goers to 11 neighborhood bar/restaurants, all located on or near Queens Blvd between 40th and 48th Streets.
In a coordinated effort, every venue will have live Irish music.
Fiddlers, accordion players and guitarists will be performing throughout the neighborhood. Some pubs will have four-piece bands while others will have solo acts.
Each bar will be putting on different acts. The Courtyard will be hosting a Celtic Rock group, PJ Horgan’s a traditional Irish music group, while Bar 43 will have Irish music and dancers from the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance.
Other bars and restaurants will have Irish folk singers, among others. (see list)
Throughout the evening, a roving pipe band— complete with drum players and bagpipers—will be going from pub to pub. The pipers will start around 5 pm and will be visiting all 11 establishments in the area over the course of the night.
Last year, the roving pipe band only had to cover 10 venues but Jack’s Ale House joined the event this year.
The event is being organized by the Boulevard of Bars, which all 11 establishments—including Jack’s Ale House– are members of.
“I think there will be a big turnout on Sunday,” said Mickey McCreesh, co-owner of Bar 43. “Last year the place was so packed I could barely find room to talk,” he said. “What’s more, every bar was busy all day.”
Each venue will be offering its own drink specials. However, Guinness is a sponsor of the event. Therefore, Guinness will be sending a representative to each bar for about 20 minutes who will give out free pints to those who want them.
Many of the bars/restaurants will be offering a full Irish menu, which will include corned beef and cabbage. Bliss Street Station, SideTracks, PJ Horgans and Bar 43 will be offering a wide range of Irish food (before and after the parade).
Arriba Arriba, the Mexican restaurant, is a member of the Boulevard of Bars and plans to participate in the event. Last year, the restaurant served Mexican shepherd’s pie and green margaritas.
People of all ethnic backgrounds participated in last year’s Irish Music Festival. A bartender at The Courtyard was quoted as saying last year: “There’s been a nice mix of people all day, not just the Irish crowd.”
The bars will also be calling on the community to help raise funds for the Leary Firefighters Foundation (which aims to provide firefighters with the best firefighting equipment) and Engine 325/Ladder 163 again this year—which is the firehouse on 51st Street.
Last year, more than $3,000 was raised.