Hooley on the Hudson returns for 21st annual celebration

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Photo provided by Hooley on the Hudson.

KINGSTON – The Ulster County Ancient Order of Hibernians has announced that the Hooley on the Hudson Irish festival will take place on September 4 at T.R. Gallo Park from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

 The festival, which always happens the Sunday before Labor Day, is presented annually by the City of Kingston and Ancient Order of Hibernians, Fr. Con Colbert Woulfe Division 1, Ulster County, and is a full-day celebration of Irish culture featuring live music, step-dancing, children’s activities, and food and craft vendors.

Jim Carey, president of the Ulster County Ancient Order of Hibernians, said the fact that it’s free should matter at a time when many are holding onto their wallets a little tighter.  “It’s a crazy world out there, but this is the one place you can go where you don’t have to worry about admission. I call it an inflation fighter because people with kids are often broke after their summer vacation and now the kids want new school clothes,” he said.

Carey said the event costs close to $60,000 and relies on sponsorships each year to defray expenses and produce the festival.  “It just so happens you can even sponsor a Porta Potty,” he said. 

This year’s Hooley will showcase Irish music and step dancing on three stages and a children’s activity tent. Among those scheduled to perform on the Feeney Stage are Mary G. and Shamrock, the all-female Celtic band Triskele, Celtic Heels School of Irish Dance, the Little Creek Band, and Barley Juice.

 On the Bill Yosh Stage, performers will include the Susan and Gerard Band, Michael Farrell School of Irish Dance, Andy Cooney Band, Sheridan Rúitín, and Mic Groovin’.

 The Ulster County AOH Pipe and Drums will perform on both stages and lead the way down Broadway for the Parade of Dignitaries, which kicks off the event at 11 a.m.

Last year, the festival drew close to 20,000 people, and Carey said he expects even more will attend as families look for something fun to do post-COVID.

Parking venues for the Hooley on the Hudson include Kingston Plaza, Kingston Point, and the Cornell Street municipal lot. Free shuttle buses will transport festivalgoers to the Rondout. The Hooley on the Hudson happens rain or shine.

 “It’s scary because you never know about the weather,” Carey said. “We’re not in control of it, and no matter. We’re going all the way. It doesn’t work when you half step it.”

 For information about vendor spaces or to become a festival sponsor, call Frank Carey at (845) 532-6632 or email him at francisjcarey@gmail.com