ALEXANDRIA, VA–On Saturday, September 18, from 11am-7pm, local Irish group The Ballyshaners welcome you to celebrate the halfway point to Saint Patrick’s Day.
Founded in 1980 with the original intent of organizing a Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Old Town, The Ballyshaners began from a group of local volunteers. Aiming to promote and preserve Irish heritage, history, and culture, The Ballyshaners regularly host events, festivals, and parades, such as their Alexandria Irish festival in the summers and the Saint Patrick’s Day parade in March, featuring local music, businesses, and vendors.
From that one parade, The Ballyshaners have grown and continue to do so, by building relationships with local businesses, developing an outreach program, and recruiting local volunteers.
In 2020, many all those things came to a screeching halt with the threat of COVID-19, but The Ballyshaners remained strong, maintaining their Irish resilience.
Alexandria was one of the only cities in the world to host a Saint Patrick’s Day parade in 2020. Kim Moore, Chairman of The Ballyshaners, comments, “We were so glad to have given our shops and restaurants a big business day before everything shut down.”
It has now been over a year since that shut down, and without the annual Saint Patrick’s Day parade in March 2021, The Ballyshaners along with fellow Alexandrians are all eager to get back out and celebrate whenever a chance should arise. “We expect a pretty good turnout,” states Kaitlyn Likas, head of Public Relations. “We feel as though people are making up for lost time. This event gives them something fun to do that also serves educational purposes, sharing the history and customs of Ireland.”
The interest in the original Ballyshaner’s parade has remained strong, so this Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day celebration will only spur that interest on.
Kaitlyn states, “This festival serves our favorite restaurants and stores as we are trying to get back to normal. We are very proud to say we are still alive and thriving. We are still proceeding forward, onwards, and upwards.”
On Saturday September 18, from 11am-7pm, join The Ballyshaners at Waterfront Park for music, food, Irish dancers, a beer truck, among other festivities, as they celebrate Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day with your favorite local businesses.
“We always are thrilled to bring a fun day to Alexandria,” concludes Kim with gusto.
For more details on the event, visit https://www.ballyshaners.org/.