Clare Owens has a busy March.
For the 12-year-old competitive Irish step dancer from the Donny Golden School of Irish Dance, every weekend is filled with performances at St. Patrick’s Day events. But she was particularly looking forward to her favorite appearance of the month: the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Old Bethpage Village Restoration.
“It’s really good,” Clare, of Stewart Manor, said of the event. “I really like dancing with my friends and meeting people.”
Following their traditional step routine, Clare and her fellow dancers invited younger guests on stage to learn a few basic dance steps.
“This [Old Bethpage Village Restoration] is one of the nicest St. Patrick’s events to perform at because of the time of day and the mix of people here,” said Clare’s mother, Kate Owens.
Organized by the Nassau County Parks Department, the St. Patrick’s celebration has been held at Old Bethpage Village Restoration since 2012.
“We saw this [Old Bethpage Village Restoration Fairgrounds] as a jewel that hasn’t been fully realized,” said Nassau Parks Commissioner Brian Nugent. “The celebration is a way to do a little project for the residents and start the St. Patrick’s Day season off right.”
According to Nugent, about 5,000 residents took part in Saturday’s festivities. The administrative and fairgrounds buildings were temporarily converted into O’Malley’s Inn and McLauglin’s Public House, hosting authentic Irish step dancing and musical performances, face painting and traditional Irish food and drinks.
Gina Baker, of Glen Cove, brought her daughter, Olivia, 3, to enjoy the celebration and appreciate the warm weather.
“We wanted to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, and this was a perfect way,” Baker said. “It’s such a fun and beautiful Saturday.”