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So, the Halfway Hoolie was today (Great American Irish Festival party that marks the midpoint between last year's festival and the upcoming one). They announced the major lineup for the festival and the Grand Marshall for the St. Patrick's Day parade.

Volunteers got in for $10--all the food you can eat, all the beer (Smithwick's and Saranac Irish Red), wine, soda, coffee, and tea you can drink, The Blarney Rebel Band to warm-up, then one of the headliners for the main act. All in a room the size of your average Utica wedding reception hall. Got the image? Nice and small venue, very intimate, very personal. Last year it was The Prodigals. This year...


It was wonderful. (And there was a television in the corner so those of us who cared about the game could keep track, if we were a little motivated to get over there. Nice.)

Morguhn loved the hoolie, and was really looking forward to this year's since we'd know more people this time around.

Over the last two years the festival has had over 700 volunteers each year. As we checked in at the volunteer table (we pay less than half of the general admission fee for the hooley) the woman in charge of volunteers was checking us in. When I got there and gave her my name, she looked up with great sincerity and said "I was so sorry to hear about your partner." We chatted for a second, then she said, "Do you want to do what you did last year again?" I said, sure, and started to say what it was, but then she shouted across the hall to one of the other coordinators and said, "Judy, Rosemary's going to do check-in on Friday and then work for you whenever on the other days." Judy smiled back and said, "Great."

Judy came to the calling hours. The steering committee for the festival sent us a condolences card. They have seven hundred volunteers.

Then, so you know it isn't "all about me," we were going into the hall and they had a volunteer sign up table. Ro hadn't gone on line and taken care of hers yet, so we stopped so she could do a paper copy right then. One of the people manning that table was the one in charge of an area she had worked in. Ro has lost 30 pounds since July, and cut her hair dramatically. The woman looked at her, recognized her, and said "Oh, hi! Are you going to volunteer again? Do you want to work the register again? You were great!"

Okay, the impetus to volunteer in the first place was getting to hear the music for three days in exchange for 8 hours of labor. The reason we're devoted is because of things like this.

BTW--The Elders and Enter the Haggis are two of the headliners this year, along with Tannahill Weavers, The Fenians, Dublin City Ramblers, and Derek Warfield and the Young Wolfetones.

Now we're watching the Steelers and the Ravens try to smash each other into submission. Yummy.



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 19th, 2009 01:13 pm (UTC)
Date for the actual festival is?
Jan. 19th, 2009 01:41 pm (UTC)
July 24-26. Land grab weekend, unless they move Pennsic again.

( 2 comments — Leave a comment )