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Bethpage Time Travels To the 1800s

Residents enjoy horse-pulled wagons, Irish step dance music in re-imagined 19th century town

The First Annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration was held at Old Bethpage Village Restoration on Saturday, March 10.  Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano hosted the event, which featured Donny Golden Irish Step Dancers, music by the Celtic rock band Finn’s Fury, horse wagon rides around the restoration and a variety of Irish themed goods, food and entertainment.

Mangano was joined by his wife Lisa Mangano, and Commissioner of the Nassau County Department of Parks, Recreation and Museums, Carnell T. Foskey.

“We wanted to bring everyone together for St. Patrick’s Day, and remind the community of how special a place the Old Bethpage Village Restoration really is,” said Mangano while he stood outside the John M. Layton Grocery & General Store.

The main entrance was the reception center, where patrons would board a horse-pulled wagon to be transported around an authentic 19th century town. They enjoyed traditional Irish step dancing, Irish goods/food and pipe and drum music played throughout the day. Outside the reception center was a tent that KJOY set up, where they had promotional giveaway items.

More than 100 people packed the Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall, which featured Donny Golden Irish Step Dancing, Finn’s Fury, Irish merchandise vendors and food/drinks for everyone.  The village at the crossroads featured the Noon Inn, which was built in 1835 and restored to its appearance in 1850.  Tours were given of the Inn about its history on Long Island. The John M. Layton Grocery & General Store was also here, as well as children’s games, traditional 19th century fiddle music and a bonfire to keep everyone warm in the mildly cold March weather.

Also featured throughout the day was a fictional election for mayor of the restoration between Timothy and Christopher Van Wickler, who are both employees with the restoration.  The two brothers sported authentic 19th century Irish clothing, and walked around the township greeting everyone in attendance.

The celebration was funded through the sponsorship of Unified Window Systems Inc., the Nassau County Hotel/Motel Proceeds Grant and the Friends of Nassau County Recreation.

“We hope to do this every year.  It’s a great day for the Irish and to celebrate Irish culture,” said Mangano to the crowd at the Fairgrounds Exhibition Hall.