Kim Ladd/Lifescapes Photography
Lake George’s first-ever ‘Sham-Rock the Block’ event in 2011 was not only family-friendly but pet friendly, according to a group of friends attending from Warrensburg including (left to right): Beth Ligon, Kate McGinn, Toni Trapasso, Amanda Olden and Rachel Johnson. The event was so well-received by both people and dogs that an informal dog show is included in the 2012 event, expanded over two days. The Irish festival is set for this weekend, Saturday March 17 and Sunday March 18.
The lakeside town renowned for its festivals finally has its own St. Patrick’s Day celebration complete with a parade.
Building on the success of its debut year in 2011, Lake George’s “Sham-Rock the Block” party will be held over two days — Saturday March 17 and Sunday March 18.
Last year’s celebration drew about 300 people who enjoyed a lineup of family-oriented activities, and was considered a resounding success.
Situated at the north end of Shepard Park, this year’s Sham-Rock the Block will include Lake George’s first recorded St. Patrick’s Day parade, as well as Gaelic music, Irish food, and a beer garden outside Duffy’s Tavern. As in 2011, Lower Amherst St. will be blocked off for the crowd to enjoy the music and festivities outdoors.
For children, activities include bounce houses, pony rides, face painting, games and ATV excursions.
On Saturday, the festivities will be ongoing from 10 a.m. to at least 8 p.m., and on Sunday, the celebration kicks off with the new St. Patrick’s Day parade, and continues until 6 or 7 p.m.
The parade is to feature several Irish bands, with a total of 40 parade units — both local and from afar.
The musical offerings include the Searson band — three sisters from Canada singing Gaelic-style tunes from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m Sunday.
Erin, Heather and Colleen Searson play a variety of instruments as well as being accomplished step dancers. The group — acclaimed by musicians, critics and the public — has performed in Europe as well as Canada and the U.S, prompting rave reviews.
Also on Sunday, the group Hoosier Paddy will be performing. Saturday’s lineup includes John Eisenhart and Liam O’Tainer — both playing Irish music. Saturday also features the classic rock of Bratt Pack and Even the Odd band.
Irish food to be available includes Irish corned beef and cabbage dinners, Reuben sandwiches and Irish stew, as well as Irish sausage, burgers and hot dogs off the outside grill.
Adult games are to be featured, whether it’s the keg-tossing competition, or the traditional “swinging of the Haggis.” Children are sure to enjoy searching for gold coins hidden by local leprechauns in the yard of the old County Courthouse.
Last but not least, there will be an informal dog show at 2 p.m. Sunday, and dogs with their owners will be introduced onstage. In this friendly competition, costumes and tricks are encouraged, event organizer Linda Duffy said.
The idea for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration germinated over a year ago, when Dan Elkin of Bella’s Deli off Amherst
St. and Duffy had a conversation, she said.
“While I’ve been wanting to have a St. Patrick’s Day parade for about five years, Dan said he was surprised that Lake George didn’t have an Irish celebration — and we started planning one,” Duffy said.
Elkin, Duffy, and Jane Schmidt of the Bank Cafe and Pat Kane of Fake at the Lake tattoo shop then started planning the festivities. Last year’s celebration prompted such a positive response that activities were expanded this year, she said.
Grand Marshal for the parade is James “Tom” Burke, the owner of a local construction firm, who grew up in Ireland.
Monday, Duffy expressed appreciation to event sponsors Molly Malone’s Irish Gifts, Lake George Bakery, Bella’s Deli, Judd’s Tavern, Giuseppe’s Restaurant, From Bagels to Burgers, Shaughnessy’s Old Log Inn, Pablo’s Burrito Cantina, Adirondack Brew Pub, Giovanna’s at The Georgian, Super 8 Motel, Mario’s Restaurant, The Inn of Lake George, Riley’s T-Shirts, Duffy’s Tavern, Bank Cafe, Fake at the Lake, Duffy’s Tavern, Lake George Chamber of Commerce, Town and Village of Lake George, and Warren County Tourism Department.
With 63-degree weather forecast for the weekend, Linda Duffy predicted that quite a crowd will be enjoying the event.
“It’s a fun festival to kick off spring,” she said noting that for more than a generation, Sham-Rock the Block is the first and only public Irish festivities to be held in Warren County.