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Camden comes out for Irish Fest

Posted: March 6, 2017 4:49 p.m.
Updated: March 7, 2017 1:00 a.m.
Martin L. Cahn/C-I

Columbia Celtic folk-rock band Syr (pronounced “sire”) played for seated audiences and passer-by during the first-ever Irish Fest in Camden on Saturday. Sister and brother singers Laurel and Kyle MacCallum (center, playing tambourine and guitar) lead the band, which also includes Timothy Stevens, Emily Neff, Kelly Huff and Luis Valverde.

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A ribbon cutting, children’s parade, food, arts and crafts, bounce houses and musical acts brought hundreds of people to downtown Camden’s Rutledge Street for the Montessori School of Camden’s (MSC) first-ever Irish Fest on Saturday.

Events kicked off a little after 11 a.m. with Camden Mayor Alfred Mae Drakeford, former Mayor Tony Scully, Miss Camden Teen 2017 Garnet Robinson, Miss Camden 2017 Morgan Taylor Schoolfield and others cut a ceremonial ribbon to open the festivities. This was immediately followed by Scully, serving as Grand Marshal, leading the Leprechaun Parade of color guards, bagpipes, children, Irish wolfhounds and Gypsy Vanner horses, imported from Ireland. The parade ended on the grounds of the old Farmers Market location at Rutledge and Church streets where several vendors, the bound houses and games were set up.

For the next several hours, children enjoyed bounce houses and slides, petting the horses, getting “Kiss Me I’m Irish” kisses from wolfhounds and lots of food from vendors lined up and down Rutledge Street -- which was closed to traffic between Broad and Church streets. During the first hours of the festival, the Irish band Syr (pronounced “sire”) from Columbia played for a seated audience and passer-by.

Montessori Headmaster Dr. John Moncure said the idea for the festival as a fundraiser for the school came about thanks to MSC Parent Council President Becky O’Hara.

“She said why not an Irish fest,” Moncure said, “and I reminded her that (former) Mayor Tony Scully is Irish and that he should be grand marshal. And she said you can’t have a grand marshal without a parade, so it all came together.”

Moncure said he was happy with the large number of people who came out.

“I feel Camden needs something each month to bring people in,” he said.


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