September 11th Irish dancing competition and bagpiping festival in Northwest New Jersey

Dance-off Champion Brigid Rosendale from O'Grady-Quinlan (PA)
with IAANJ Past Presidents Patricia MacNamara and Ed Hansberry

Irish dancing, music and bands of bagpipers made the Irish American Association of Northwest New Jersey's 30th Annual Feis a joyous celebration of culture in an otherwise somber metropolitan New York on the tenth anniversary of September 11, 2001. The Irish American Association of Northwest New Jersey holds its irish dancing and bagpiping competition on the second Sunday in September every year at the Sussex County Fairgrounds in Augusta, New Jersey. This year's event drew nearly 1,000 competitive Irish dancers and a plethora of bagpipe bands from several states, as well as crowds of Irish music and dancing fans of all ages.
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Irish dancing competitions were stopped mid-morning for a festival-wide moment of silence. The Knights of Columbus honor guard lead the procession of Eucharistic ministers for a packed Mass, and the poignant gospel spoke to forgiveness and choices within human power. At the end of the day, a dozen bands of bagpiper paraded to the main stage where they played a selection of tunes including "Amazing Grace" en masse in honor of those lost on September 11, 2001.

Children's activities were held throughout the day and food vendors ranged from fish 'n chips to reubens and homemade ice cream. Vendors of Irish products, gifts, apparel and Irish dance accessories were busy all day. Musical entertainment on several stages included Celtic Cross, Willie Lynch and Kindred Spirit.

For the first time at the Irish American Association of Northwest New Jersey Feis, all winners of the Open Championship Irish dancing competitions were invited to compete against one another in a dance-off at the end of the day. Eleven stellar champions, including four boys, danced a contemporary set piece played to live music for three adjudicators. The unanimous decision of the judges awarded Bridget Rosendale of O'Grady-Quinlan Academy of Irish Dance the festival's perpetual trophy.

Julia O'Rourke from Petri (NY) and Kendall Woodcock from Harney (MA)
proudly show off their sashes.

Winners of the day's Open Championships competed
for the first IAANJ Feis dance-off trophy.

The Knights of Columbus Honor Guard before Mass.

Bagpipers parade en masse to the main stage for a
September 11th memorial performance.

All photos by Feis America LLC - for North America's favorite Irish dancing and culture magazine delivered to your mailbox, subscribe here.


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