An open letter to Danny and Jessica Barry

29 Aug

Dear Danny and Jess,

I wanted to send you this heartfelt congratulations and thank you for your wonderful Irish Festival yesterday.

Jack and I got there right when the gates opened to catch the early entertainment and right away were very impressed by what we saw. There were food vendors, the beer truck (of course), plenty of tables to sit at or hay bales to perch on, and lots more room to set up your chairs and blankets.

The entertainment line-up was packed with many of the pub’s most popular entertainers, and the Irish dance schools were a special treat.

I LOVED the kids’ lemonade stand (and Mom’s homemade cookies) and kids’ activity area. I didn’t try them out for myself, but I was tempted by the lawn games (giant Jenga, cornhole, and I even saw some hurling and Kan Jam in the back). And the vendors! So many of them with some really neat stuff. We were especially pleased to be able to reconnect with and support our old Irish Import Shop friends. (And I got some Christmas shopping done!)

Seeing old friends like that was one of the best things about the day. Of course all of the Barry’s regulars were there, but so were members of the Rochester Irish community whom we hadn’t seen in forever.

This day drew the Irish community together like no other I’ve seen in years. It had the comfortable, welcoming feel of the original Rochester Irish Festival back in the 1990s, and is something our community has needed for a long time. That was easy to see by scanning the crowd. Green t-shirts, dresses and leggings were clearly the uniform of the day as festival attendees proudly put their Irish heritage on display.

By the way, I don’t know how you did it, but you dialed up some ideal weather. Earlier in the week the weatherdudes said there was a possibility of thunderstorms, but clearly Irish eyes were smiling on you. Sure, the heat was a little oppressive when you were sitting out in the sun (can you work on that next year?) but all you had to do was keep moving your hay bale or quad chair a little more to the east to stay in the shade.

Thank you also to all the volunteers who helped set up, man the parking lot in stifling heat, provided security, checked guests in, handled concessions and managed a hundred other tasks. As far as I could see, there was nary a glitch in the planning.

Basically — and I steal this thought from a friend — the Barry’s Old School Irish Festival pretty much was Barry’s West for a day. All of the friends, community, good food, good drink and good music we have come to expect from Barry’s were there, just like we find every week at the pub … just more spread out.

I know that was the vibe you were going for. So basically, you nailed it.

It’s no coincidence that as we turned off of 260 and followed the line of cars past the corn fields to your farm, the first thing I thought of was that scene from Field of Dreams. “If you build it, they will come.”

Well, you did, they did, and it was definitely a dream come true.

Well done, my friends. We’re already looking forward to next year’s festival, and hope to become more involved, with an eye perhaps to turning it into a two-day event?

Love, Missy


Here are a few photos from the wonderful day (taken from the Barry’s Old School Irish Facebook page). Visit the page to see more.

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One Response to “An open letter to Danny and Jessica Barry”

  1. Madeline Edmunds August 29, 2021 at 12:51 pm #

    Beautiful tribute to a beautiful couple who work so hard and inspire so many people to help them put on this great event! Thanks for sharing the highlights with those of us who couldn’t be there in person this year! Slainte`☘️

    From the desk of Madeline C. Edmunds

    >

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