Feb 2, 2019
UTICA, NY – GAIF’s annual Halfway Hooley draws hundreds.
On January 25th, the Great American Irish Festival hosted its annual “Halfway to GAIF Hooley” at the Saranac Brewery, located in the heart of Utica’s historic brewery district. The evening, which marks the beginning of the festival year, was filled with food, music, dancing, and Irish community spirit.
Since its inception in 2006, the very popular celebration has provided a much-needed respite from the winter doldrums, with great music, food and drink, and a chance to see what hundreds of Great American Irish Festival volunteers look like in their winter clothes. The Hooley is the festival’s way of saying “thank you” to the hundreds of tireless volunteers who helped make the Great American Irish Festival the fastest growing Irish festival in the land.
This event has also become the forum for presenting the performance lineup for the upcoming festival, as well as the announcement of the board’s selection for the Utica St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal.
Sandwiched between sets of music from Binghamton’s The Stoutmen, GAIF Co-chairman Jeff Ball took to the mic and announced this year’s lineup to an anxious crowd, hoping to hear the announcement of a favorite band. Following that, David Wood introduced local businessman and venerable Irishman John Sullivan, who had been chosen as the 2019 Grand Marshal of Utica’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
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