Irish eyes were smiling Saturday, and so were everybody else’s, as thousands attended the Jersey City Irish Festival, which took over Exchange Place on the city’s waterfront. There were bagpipers, step dancers, plenty of T-shirt and food vendors, rock bands and flowing beer — and a heartwarming story of love.
Newark resident Owen Riley, 21, and Kearny’s Bridget Massett, 21, said they met at the festival three years ago and found out they both had been separately attending the festival with family members since they were in grammar school.
“He was so cute,” Massett said of meeting her beau in 2010. “I was like ‘will you go out with me?’”
“We came here to explore our Irish roots and we started dating,” said Riley.
“We look forward to seeing a lot of people who come back to Jersey City,” said Maureen Killeen Hulings, vice-chair of the St. Patrick’s Parade Committee, the nonprofit organization responsible for putting together the festival since 1999.
Three bands performed this year: The Narrowbacks, The Prodigals and Black 47.
But for much of the afternoon, it was 78-year-old Patricia Squires of Bayonne who stole the show as she showed off her solo dance moves near the stage.
“I‘m so thrilled that I can be here. As soon as I got here I heard the music and started to dance,” said the former school teacher. “My energy is exquisite.”
See the gallery from the Jersey Journal here: http://www.nj.com/jjournal-news/index.ssf/2013/09/thousands_attend_annual_jersey.html