SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – The New York Racing Association, Inc. (NYRA) will celebrate the culture and traditions of the Emerald Isle during Irish-American Heritage Day at Saratoga Race Course on Wednesday, August 12.
The day-long festivities will feature Irish music, dance, entertainment and food from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Saratoga Pavilion. Fans are encouraged to celebrate by wearing green and decorating their backyard picnic tables with Irish-themed décor.
NYRA will welcome Patricia Ward Kelly, wife of renowned actor, dancer and choreographer Gene Kelly, who was of Irish descent and best known for his roles in the classic films “Singin’ in the Rain” and “An American in Paris”. Ward Kelly will present the trophy for the day’s fifth race, named “Saratoga Salutes Hollywood Legend Gene Kelly”.
Ward Kelly will appear at the Irish American Heritage Museum exhibit at the Saratoga Pavilion throughout the afternoon to discuss the talents and Irish lineage of her late husband.
Traditional Irish bagpipers from the Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band and step dancers from The Boland School of Irish Dance will greet guests at the grandstand and clubhouse entrances beginning at 11 a.m. Dancers with The Boland School of Irish Dance will perform trackside at approximately 2:15 p.m. following the day’s third race.
Performances from An Clar School of Irish Dance, Irish band Blame Arthur Guinness, The Boland School of Irish Dance, Capital District Irish American Association Set Dancers, local Irish musician Kevin McKrell, and the Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band will take place at the Pavilion and bandstand throughout the day.
A number of chefs from the greater Capital Region will conduct cooking demonstrations of classic Irish dishes inside the Saratoga Pavilion during the afternoon, including Traditional Irish Soda Bread from Chef Harold Qualters of the Irish American Heritage Museum; Chocolate Orange Guinness Cake from Chef and Questar III Culinary Educator Peter Desmond; Braised Corned Beef with Guinness Mustard from Wayside Country Inn Chef and Owner Sean McCarthy; and Apple Parsnip Irish Cheddar Soup from Fáilte Hospitality Consulting Chef Michael Galbraith. Limited samples will be available.
Traditional Irish food and drink will also be available for purchase at participating concession stands, including Corned Beef Sandwiches and Guinness Brat Hoagies at Fourstardave’s; Bangers and Mash at select sausage and pepper carts; and Beer-Butter Glazed Fries topped with Garlic and Cheese at Just Spuds. Irish beer and Jameson Irish Whiskey specials will be available throughout the venue and all restaurants will feature Irish-themed menu specials.
Acclaimed exhibits highlighting Irish culture, traditions and history will be on display at the Pavilion throughout the day. Participating organizations and individuals include the Irish American Heritage Museum, Capital District Irish American Association, Kerry Cattle Association, Kate Mullany House, Ancient Order of Hibernians, Albany Rebels Gaelic Football and artwork from Kevin McKrell.
The 2015 summer meet at Saratoga Race Course continues through Labor Day, Monday, September 7. For more information about Saratoga Race Course, visit www.nyra.com or call 518-584-6200.