Irish 2000 Festival

For two days in mid-September, the Saratoga County Fairgrounds in Ballston Spa, NY is home to all things Irish as the 16th Annual Irish 2000 Music & Arts Festival takes place.

The festival, ranked one of the top five of its kind in the United States, kicks off with  non-stop music from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.  Friday, September 14. On Saturday, the festival gates open at 10 a.m. and performances continue until 11 p.m. with some of the best Celtic entertainment in the world.

“Irish 2000 has become a tradition — a grand celebration of midway to St. Patrick’s Day. Each year we welcome about 15,000 people to the Fairground’s for two days filled with music, dance and so much more,” said Festival Executive Director Matt Nelligan.


The not-for-profit Irish Music and Arts Festival, Inc. organizes the annual festival.  The goal of the organization is, “To preserve, protect and promote Irish history and culture in the 21st century.”

In addition to producing the festival, Irish 2000 also supports other non-profit organizations. Since its inception, the festival has donated more than $350,000 to a variety of charities.

125th for Anaconda

Anaconda AOH Division 1 Officers holding charter provide by the Montana AOH State Board left to right: Standing Committee Chairman John "Bobo" Kelly, Recording Secretary Jack Kelly, Treasurer Ed Birch, Financial Secretary Frank Fitzpatrick, Vice President Bob Mehrens, President Jim Killoy, Marshall Gary Ouldhouse and Sentinel Tony Shea.

For 125 years the Anaconda AOH in Montana have been sharing Friendship, Unity and Christian Charity. The Anaconda AOH Division 1 was established on September 13, 1885, four years before Montana became a state. Charter members included William Welsh,, Pat Mealy, John Brooks, Pat Harrington, M.L. Burke, Phil McGovern, Mike Collins, Jim Murray, John Phillips, Pat Gordon, and James Dollard along with officers:;President Thomas Daly, Vice President Mike O’Rourke, Recording Secretary Joe Peters, Financial Secretary Patrick McMahon and Treasurer J.B. Keefe

The same tradition was offered September 10th, 11th and 12th 2010 with a variety of activities scheduled for the weekend at the Hibernian Hall. 150 friends and guests were in attendance as the division that boasts to be one of the oldest west of the Mississippi had a grand celebration. Brothers from as far as Buffalo, NY and Michigan made the journey to help commemorate the occasion. The weekend began with a registration and social on Friday evening. Many stories were told and old pictures shared among those in attendance. Ed McCarthy led the story telling for the group, being the longest active member, joining Anaconda’s division in 1954. Ed was also chosen as the Grand Marshall for the weekend. Saturday kicked off with a social at noon followed by a parade through town at two. Saturday evening’s activities began with a dinner and a number of presentations.

Montana’s national director, Mike O’Connor presented the organization with an anniversary plaque, sent by the national board.  Montana State President Tom Pahut then presented the division with a proclamation from Governor of Montana Bryan Schweitzer designating September 13th Anaconda AOH Heritage Day.  Said proclamation was signed by the Montana State Board; Tom Pahut, President, L.F. Thomas, Vice President, John Curry, Treasurer, Frank Walsh Secretary and Bob Mehrens Marshal, also signing were Mike O’Connor National Director and the Anaconda Division officers Standing Committee Chairman John “Bobo” Kelly, Recording Secretary Jack Kelly, Treasurer Ed Birch, Financial Secretary Frank Fitzpatrick, Vice President Bob Mehrens, President Jim Killoy, Marshall Gary Ouldhouse and Sentinel Tony Shea. A wonderful banner commemorating the organization’s accomplishment was also presented by State President Pahut .The evening climaxed with music and dance provided by the Montana ShamRockers. Sunday all were invited to march to Mass at St. Peters Church. The weekend was closed with a wonderful brunch.