Roselle Park gearing up for Irish festival

Photos Courtesy Richard Stillman
Actor, musician and singer Richard Stillman will be featured in Roselle Park’s annual St. Patrick’s Day event on March 19.
Photos Courtesy Richard Stillman Actor, musician and singer Richard Stillman will be featured in Roselle Park’s annual St. Patrick’s Day event on March 19.

ROSELLE PARK, NJ — Roselle Park will hold its annual St. Patrick’s Day event on March 19, with a celebration and cultural fair held at the Casano Community Center, 314 Chestnut St. in Roselle Park, from 2 to 5 p.m.

The free event will feature live entertainment by Broadway actor, musician and singer Richard Stillman, as well as traditional Irish food.

The event has been a tradition in the borough since 2005, with some of the highlights including traditional Irish music, dance and bagpipes, along with authentic Irish fare.

According to Roselle Park Mayor Carl Hokanson, approximately 10 percent of the borough’s population is of Irish descent, and the event is always well-attended.

“In 2016, we had more than 200 participating in the event,” Hokanson told LocalSource in a recent email.

Stillman has performed as an actor, musician, storyteller and tap dancer for many years on Broadway, regional theater, and in schools and theaters “from New Jersey to Alaska,” as he put it in a recent email with LocalSource.

Stillman is not new to the borough, having performed his song, tap dance, and banjo shows at various venues.

Photos Courtesy Richard Stillman
Actor, musician and singer Richard Stillman will be featured in Roselle Park’s annual St. Patrick’s Day event on March 19.

“My Irish band has performed at the Hunter Mountain Irish Festival and the New Jersey Kilt Festival,” Stillman said.

His “Irish Balladeer” show has played at the John F. Kennedy Library and will be performing at the Jersey Shore later in the month.

“My Irish trio will be singing and playing ballads, jigs, hornpipes and reels,” Stillman said of his upcoming performance at the event. “Our instrumentation includes tenor banjo, mandolin, guitar, bagpipes, bass, concertina, bodhran, bones, pennywhistle and harmonica. We have a traditional sound and are fans of the Clancy Brothers, the Chieftains and other folk style bands. We can also play country, bluegrass, Dixieland, swing and rock styles but we will be focusing on Irish music for St. Patrick’s Day.”

Hokanson said he loves what the event brings to the community.
“Traditional celebrations are an excellent opportunity for intercultural exchange and understanding,” Hokanson said. “Both kids and adults learn about other cultures through these celebrations to connect finding mutual support.

“Celebrating a special day also helps them keep the culture and heritage alive. It also helps residents who moved from overseas living in a new culture by exploring, learning, adopting and joining in the celebration of the local holidays and traditions celebrated by the borough.”

In addition to entertainment, the St. Patrick’s Day celebration feature food provided by Dowling Irish Pub and the Sunrise Diner.

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