Editor Emeritus - Ed Wilkinson

Irish Fair to be Held in New Oceanside Venue

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Officials of the Great Irish Fair get an up-close and personal look at the development of the new Amphitheater on the Boardwalk in Coney Island.

There will be some changes made at the Great Irish Fair this year. Not only has the fair switched from a weekend event to a single-day affair but the venue will also be different.

The Great Irish Fair, which benefits Catholic schools in Brooklyn and Queens, will take place on Saturday, Sept. 24, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. It will be held at the brand new Amphitheater on the Boardwalk in Coney Island.

This week, workers have been scurrying to put the finishing touches on the Amphitheater that opens on Saturday, June 25, with a concert by Ziggy Marley and Steel Pulse. The cast of Impractical Jokers and The Tenderloins appear on July 1 and will be followed by Peter Gabriel and Sting on July 3 and the Beach Boys on July 4.

Tickets for those shows are available on-line with a number of free concerts set throughout the summer.

As the Amphitheater opens this weekend, it will not be completed but the plans never were to have it totally done by this time. While it will be ready for concert-goers, the site will not contain the unique 85-foot bar and accompanying restaurant that will be accessible from the boardwalk.

Future plans call for a rooftop space with spectacular views of the ocean where food and drinks will be served.

The Amphitheater is being built into the facade of the historic and landmarked Child’s restaurant that operated on the site until 1958. When it opened in 1923, it was the first buffet restaurant in the country.

Bad times fell upon the building but the historic facade with all its colorful icons is being restored and will serve as the side and back walls to the concert theater, all of which will be open-air under a neat tent-like canvas top.

On a walk-through on a recent afternoon, Great Irish Fair director Martin Cottingham gushed with possibilities for the site. The fair has already booked Andy Coney and his band to play on the large stage. He’s hoping to soon make a major announcement about other acts coming to the fair.

Other activities of the Great Irish Fair will take place in and around the concert area. Behind the seating is park space that will be open to the public when a function is not taking place at the Amphitheater.

Cottingham, whose firm was instrumental in obtaining the grounds for renewal, says that there are possibilities for other diocesan functions that could be held at the site. There’s chatter about a possible concert that could further benefit our Catholic schools through Futures in Education.

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