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Arts & EventsIrish Pride is in the Aer

Irish Pride is in the Aer

Irish Pride is in the Aer

As they made their way down to Lansdowne Park, no one in the parade seemed to mind the weather as they were all seemingly kept warm by their Irish pride.

Soon after the parade finished the Aberdeen Pavilion came to life with Irish music, as it filled with green wearing Irish descendants of all generations and beer flowed from taps around the room as the opening ceremonies of Beau's St. Patrick's Party began.

After some choice opening words from Catherine McKenna commemorating Canada's great history of taking in Irish immigrants and our proud tradition of celebrating their culture for generations  it was time to start the festivities.

Calling on parade grand marshal Rick Campbell to tap the cask, the marshal and Redblacks head coach brought beer to the stage and even the front row, without leaving any crowd members particularly drenched. With a rendition of both the Irish and Canadian national anthems and hearty cheers by the delegates on stage, the party was in full effect.

Music by Mountain Tay filled the air for much of the afternoon, with traditional Irish folks songs like "Whisky in the Jar" and "The Wild Rover" chanted and clapped among the crowd and musicians alike. They even brought on the fancy feet of Chris Last to dance his heart out to a handful of classic tunes while they played with ever-rushing speed.

Along with the stellar vocal duties by Robin Averill bringing these classic songs and even some Johnny Cash to life, there was never a dull moment in the day's entertainment. Averill even cheekily encouraged the crowd to grab a beer saying "The more you drink, the better we'll sound."

As the band left the stage the Sue Fay Healy School of Irish Dance troupe hit the floor and stage to deliver a cleverly modern twist on traditional Irish dances. The intergenerational performers from grade school to university students brought the river dance with technical precision and an overwhelming sense of fun throughout the performance. As the eldest set came out for their final set with brooms in hand, it was unclear if a STOMP performance was about to take place, but the dancers quickly incorporated the props into their routine, waving them in the air and most impressively throwing their legs over them repeatedly to many hails from the crowd. As the whole troupe came together, they rotated small showcases and even added Gangnam Style briefly before ending their routine and gracefully bowing to end the impressive set of dances.

With enough beer already in hand under the pavilion roof, it was time to start the stein holding competition. Calling on the luchador-mask-donned mascot Strong Patrick to judge and force arms into their upright positions the stage and steins were filled and ready to go. Arms fell and shook wildly with in the first minute of the competition, forcing competitors to drop like flies. As Strong Patrick yelled at competitors to keep their arms straight, and threw others out who just couldn't hold it any longer it narrowed down to the final three stein holders. Muscles flaring and tense, pained faces looking out to the crowd, the arm strain was palpable from the sidelines as two competitors fell simultaneously leaving the victor Chris to finish his beer and collect his prize as the first winner of the day.

With dance competitions and further stein holding to be challenged among the musical guests awaiting the remainder of the day, it was a constantly refreshing reminder from Beau's co-founder Steve Beauchesne that "The best part is you get to celebrate again next weekend."

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