Hackley Hooley delivers some Celtic cheer on a stunning September Saturday
Story by Ken De Laat
Photos by Lil De Laat
“May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far”- Irish Blessing
No, it wasn’t the 4 day extravaganza known as the Michigan Irish Music Festival that has long been a favorite for the masses who stream into Heritage Landing each September for four days of fun, festivities and some seriously good music.
But at noon when the first performer, long time festival favorite Seamus Kennedy, took to the stage at Hackley Park he summed it up well.
“Hello Muskegon! It is so great to be back and to get this festival going again...well...baby steps, baby steps.
“So get your vax, wear your masks and don’t touch me,” he finished.
Kennedy’s opening line drew a chorus of laughs and cheers from the hundreds who gathered to take part in the Hackley Hooley, a mini fest of sorts aimed at whetting the appetite of the Hibernian enthusiasts who gathered on Saturday.
Then he launched into an audience participation version of ‘Whiskey in the Jar’, as he succeeded in charming an appreciative crowd and for a moment it was as if things were back to normal and all was right with the world.
Two years ago the MIMF celebrated the 20th year of providing this convention of captivating Celtic culture.
Then like so many other annual events the pandemic slammed the door in 2020 and with travel restrictions still in place and an uncertainty continuing to loom, organizers knew the time and effort necessary to put this huge event together for this fall could not risk the possibility of a late cancellation.
So sponsors stepped up, the sea of volunteers dusted off their badges and a one day version of the much loved original took place blessed by one of those gorgeous late summer Saturdays in this bipeninsular paradise.
The music was outstanding with bands speaking to their excitement at shaking off the rust from a lengthy pandemic produced sabbatical and the vendors on hand provided patrons with food, artisan goods and, of course, a bit of beer and whiskey.
Just like every other year.
Only a bit smaller.
Ok, maybe a lot smaller but still boatloads of fun.
Kudos to the MIMF folks for their perseverance, the sponsors for making it happen, and the people who attended and served notice that interest in this, perhaps the most beloved of all area doings, continues to soar.
And with a dash or two of hope and a substantial slice of Irish optimism MIMF 21 will be gathering at Heritage Landing next September.
See you there.
An Irish priest is driving along a country road when a policeman pulls him over. He immediately smells alcohol on the priest's breath and notices an empty wine bottle in the car.
He says: "Have you been drinking?"
"Just water," says the priest.
The cop replies: "Then why do I smell wine?"
The priest looks at the bottle and says: "Good Lord! He's done it again!"
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