The Great Irish Fair of New York may be gearing up for a change in venue but, according to fair Chairperson Martin Cottingham, organizers have been able to lock in a cheaper entry fee.
“As excited as we are, we’re dealing with some of those growing pains,” Cottingham told this paper when news broke that the 35th annual event — typically held in the parking lot of Coney Island’s MCU Park – would relocate this year to the brand new Ford Amphitheater at the Coney Island Boardwalk.
Originally, ticket prices were set this year at $25 for general admission (it was just $10 for adults and $5 for kids last year), and $65 for VIP rooftop bar and lounge access. However, Cottingham explained, as of Friday, September 9, general admission cost remains the same at the door (though presale tickets can be snagged online for just $20, and VIP rooftop bar and lounge access has been brought down to $50 at the door and $45 ahead of time).
VIP access, Cottingham said, will score attendees access to the private rooftop bar, complimentary light food, cell phone charging stations, a private bathroom and a talent “meet and greet,” as well as a two hour VIP happy hour from 1 to 3 p.m.
In addition, those wishing to avoid pesky Ticketmaster fees may purchase their tickets at one of the four following locations: VRC Tax (4023 Avenue T, at the corner of Coleman Street), Knights of Columbus Council # 126/O’Malley Irish Dance Academy Studio (3051 Nostrand Avenue), Buckley’s Bar & Restaurant (2926 Avenue S) or Farrell’s Bar & Grill (215 Prospect Park West).
Pricing of in-event food and drinks, organizers say, will be kept similar to last year’s Great Irish Fair menu.
“People keep asking, ‘Why the amphitheater,” said Cottingham, “and, simply put, it’s an amazing opportunity to up our game.”
The change in venue will see the fair – founded in 1982 by the Brooklyn Chapter of the Ancient Order of Hibernians and hosted, since 2007, by the Irish American Building Society as a way to commemorate the city’s abundant Irish-American culture heritage with live music, food and draft beers served up by local watering holes – unfolding in the recently unveiled 5,000-seat open-air venue that, since opening earlier this summer, has hosted bands like Boston, the Beach Boys, Aerosmith and more.
Approximately 900 seats in the lower bowl area will be removed to accommodate traditional Irish dancing, as well as an additional 500 seats in the mezzanine area to allow for more space for both party-goers and vendors.
Still, while the format will mirror years past, Cottingham said, the event – typically two days at the end of each September – will hit the waterfront nabe on Saturday, September 24 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. for just one day.
This year’s musical acts will include traditional Irish music by John Nolan, Andy Cooney, the Buckley School of Irish Dance, FDNY Emerald Society Pipes and Drums, Derek Warfield & The Young Wolftones, O’Malley Irish Dance Academy, McLean Avenue Band, Breezy Point Catholic Club Pipe and Drums, Searson and Unforgettable Fire, among others.
A second tent will also be pitched outside of the amphitheater — as well as four playgrounds for children — to allow for traditional Irish music all day long.
For more information and a full list of this year’s honorees, visit www.iabsny.com/great-irish-fair.