Hofstra hosts 20th annual Irish Festival
JIGJAM performs on stage in the Physical Education Center during Hofstra’s annual Irish Festival. Photo courtesy of Leo Brine/Hofstra Chronicle.
The David S. Mack Physical Education Center was transformed into a sea of green on Sunday, March 11, as students, community members and vendors packed the facility to celebrate Irish culture at Hofstra’s 20th annual Irish Festival.
Fans of WRHU, 88.7 FM Radio Hofstra University’s “The Long Ireland Show” had the opportunity to meet the show’s host, Eileen Cornin, during Sunday’s festivities. Cornin has been working at WRHU for over 25 years and in that time has garnered plenty of listeners.
The WRHU booth at the festival was busy throughout the day with listeners to both Cornin’s show and Loretta King’s show, “Celtic Country.”
“Rarely will you find true Irish events and Eileen and Loretta are both great people to celebrate it with. Everybody knows Eileen. It was really nice to put faces to the names for the listeners,” said Kimberly Donahue, a junior journalism major and news director at WRHU.
One of the many vendors at the event was Jennifer Avallone of JGA Creations, a company she started and runs with her boyfriend making quilled art. Quilling, a European form of art, uses strips of paper that are rolled, looped and curled to create shapes and make designs. Avallone has been coming to the Irish festival for three years and always has a great time.
“The people, the music, everyone is in such a good mood and I love seeing the kids in their costumes,” Avallone said. “The students are always so nice! And I get to see a lot of the same faces, that is why I always request the same spot.”
Lucy Byrne, a freshman criminology major, was happy to further explore her Irish roots at the event. “I really liked all the pretty jewelry and the quire [a traditional parchment] was awesome,” Byrne said.
Both Byrne and Donahue wished that they had more money to spend on the items there. “I really wanted to get a Claddagh ring because I’m trying to get more in touch with my roots,” Donahue said.
Attendees also had the opportunity to trace their Irish lineage. For Donahue, this was her favorite part of the event. She discovered that her last name had been changed from the traditional Irish spelling to what it is now.
“It was interesting to [learn] that your lineage comes from this county and they moved to here and this is how it changed,” Donahue said. “I’m always interested in my lineage.”
In addition to the numerous vendors, the festival also hosted a variety of food and entertainment options. Traditional Irish soda bread and crumb cake were served, and guests aged 21 and above had the opportunity to purchase Guinness and Baileys Irish Cream.
Music groups such as the Black Velvet Band and Irish band JIGJAM, an award-winning quartet, performed live music throughout the day.
Freshman forensic science major Alison Stark was a fan of the live music. “The music was pretty dope, everyone had such great voices. Plus, the atmosphere is really great.”