For All That's Irish Under The Sun

June 12, 1994|By Dail Willis | Dail Willis,Ocean City Bureau of The Sun

Ocean City -- The once-a-year-on-St.-Patrick's-Day Irish get a second chance this year in Ocean City, with the Irish Festival June 17-19.

There will be three days of Irish music, dancing, arts and crafts and Guinness at the Ocean City Convention Center come Friday.

It's the second year for the festival, started last year by Billy Regan, whose great-grandfather came to Baltimore in the late 1800s from County Cork.

"I started it last year, after my second trip to Ireland. It was really just to have some fun, drink some beer," Mr. Regan recalls of the festival's origin.

"I own a T-shirt company and we sell to a lot of Irish customers. So we decided Ocean City would be a great spot for an Irish festival. What better spot? You've got 300,000 people here on the weekends.

"We've got Guinness beer -- that's probably the most important thing!"

Last year's events drew a crowd of 15,000 and Mr. Regan and festival organizer Mike Wicklein hope for comparable interest this year.

"It's just a fun time," says Mr. Wicklein, adding he'll change his name to Mickey O'Wicklein for the festival's duration -- "I'm German on my father's side, Irish on my mother's side."

The festival begins Friday afternoon with entertainment by Denny Carr, Liam McGuire and Malone & Hutch. It continues for the next two days with repeat performances.

Also scheduled to perform are Paul Martin, Brendan's Voyage, O'Malley's March (led by Baltimore City Councilman Martin O'Malley), Smash the Windows (Mr. O'Malley also plays for this band) and several Irish dancing groups.

"It's a lot of fun -- there's the music and the step dancing," says Dennis Roarty of the Delmarva Irish-American Club, one of the festival's several sponsors. (Membership in the club is "not necessarily Irish," he adds. "You just have to like things Irish!")

The festival is being run by Ocean Promotions, Mr. Wicklein's company, which also organizes a Bavarian festival later in the summer and other events.

Sponsors include Guinness, the Delmarva Irish-American Club, Pepsi, Shenanigan's (an Irish bar on the Boardwalk in Ocean City), Oceana (a local publication) and Ledo's Pizza. In addition to the entertainment, there will be Irish arts and crafts for sale, Irish food and door prizes, Mr. Wicklein said.

The festival runs from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. All events will be at the Ocean City Convention Center, at 40th Street and Coastal Highway.

For more information, call (410) 213-1599.

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