Look… we all know this wasn’t the first Irish celebration in Hoboken that had people walking around with beers in their hands. But it WAS the first time it was legally sanctioned.
Saturday’s Hoboken Irish Festival saw the first City-run festival where attendees were allowed to freely mill about Sinatra Park with alcoholic beverages.
Previous Sinatra Park festivals—including the Hoboken Italian Festival (Feast of the Madonna Dei Martiri) and the past three Irish Festivals—have entailed a relatively restrictive drinking corral of sorts, where patrons had to stay in a barricaded area and chug their beers before they could step out and enjoy the rest of the festival.
The impact of these boozy holding pens way off in the corner was generally seen as negative, taking away from the overall enjoyment of the festivals while perhaps inadvertently encouraging people to binge drink at an accelerated pace so that they could then step out and partake in the live music or other activities.
This past weekend, Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer and Hoboken Police Chief Ken Ferrante made the decision to expand the Beer Garden, more or less barricading Sinatra Park and placing Police and/or Hoboken Alcoholic Beverage Control Board-Certified security personnel at the exits to ensure people didn’t walk off with their beer.
The beer truck, this year proudly run by Finnegan’s Pub (734 Willow Avenue), had it’s own certified personnel checking IDs. Anyone who was of legal drinking age could purchase a beverage and simply enjoy it… like an adult.
-ZERO incidents of vomiting or public urination
Basically, there was ZERO need for “ZERO TOLERANCE” crackdowns as hundreds of attendees took in the festival. Meanwhile, kids danced to the live music and family-oriented fixtures like bouncy castles, petting zoos and carriage rides were outside the beer garden area—as were the Hoboken Guards Gaelic Athelic Association Hurling/Camogie/Football matches.
“I thought this year’s Irish Festival was the best so far and am glad everyone had such a great time.” said Mayor Zimmer. “People loved the new format, and I foresee us holding more events like this going forward.”
Great turnout for 4th Irish Festival! McLean Ave band is fantastic! Come check it out! Festival goes on until 6:00. pic.twitter.com/2FQUrWsORp
— Dawn Zimmer (@dawnzimmernj) May 16, 2015