THE New York Rose of Tralee selection will take place this Friday, May 23 at the Broad Street Ballroom where one contestant will follow in the footsteps of last year's New York Rose and overall Rose of Tralee winner, Lisa Murtagh, and represent the state in the five-day festival in Ireland in August.Nine girls with Irish roots from the tri-state area will compete for the title. ESPN's Tommy Smyth, the grand marshal of this year's St. Patrick's Day parade will interview each girl on the night.Performing at the selection will be current Guinness Book of World Records holder for "Fastest Fingers in the World," Liam O'Connor.Each participant is between the ages of 18 and 28. The winner will be flown to Ireland to compete in the 49th Rose of Tralee International festival, which features contestants from all over the world, and take part in all the festival has to offer, including nationwide television coverage and huge press attention.Last year's New York Rose, Murtagh, impressed the judges in Ireland so much that she brought back the 2007 Rose of Tralee title to New York, but not for long. In February, Murtagh and her fiance Brian Fitzgerald moved back to Limerick where she continued to carry out her Rose duties. Murtagh will marry Fitzgerald after this year's Rose of Tralee.Murtagh will be present on Friday to hand over her New York crown to the chosen 2008 rose.Each of the contestants this year come from various backgrounds, but the one thing all of them have in common is their love for Ireland and their Irish ancestry. While several of the girls vying for the New York title, are students, others are already working in various professions.Tickets for Friday's ball are $150 per person. This includes cocktails, a three-course dinner, live music, Irish dance performances and an autograph singing by the current Rose of Tralee. The ball is from 6-10 p.m. and takes place at the Broad Street Ballroom, 41 Broad Street, (between Exchange Place and Beaver Street.
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