(March 20, 2015) Ocean City’s third annual Finnegan’s Wake will be held Saturday, March 21, from 5-9 p.m. in Seacrets’ Morley Hall. The mock Irish funeral will include happy hour drink prices, live Irish music and food, and a wailing contest.
The event is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Worcester County Developmental Center.
“It’s a unique event. No one else has a Finnegan’s Wake in the area, complete with a funeral procession and great entertainment,” said WCDC Executive Director Jack Ferry. “People get dressed up and have a lot of fun. In addition, it is a great time for a great cause by helping people with intellectual disabilities.”
The wake will begin at 5:15 p.m. with the Ocean City Pipe and Drum Band leading the mock funeral procession of Tim Finnegan, along with clergy members, mourners and pallbearers.
Once the procession ends, Finnegan’s casket will be placed at its viewing site in the 49th Street venue, where mourners will have the chance to tell him a funny story or joke for $1. The goal is to raise Finnegan from the dead by making him laugh. If the joke teller succeeds, he or she will win a free drink.
Following the Irish tradition of hiring professional keeners to cry or wail for the departed, a contest will take place with the most enthusiastic wailer taking home a $50 prize.
The Irish Lads will be headlining Finnegan’s Wake, in addition to an appearance by the Bethany Jubilee Trio.
The Irish Lads have been playing traditional and authentic Irish folk music since 1978. Since the band’s inception, the group has produced five albums, performed on cruises, shared the stage with legendary performers, and a broadcasting out of Ireland has brought their music to audiences worldwide, Ferry said.
Around 150 people attended last year’s event, which raised $3,700 for the Friends of Worcester County Developmental Center, which provides employment opportunities, day habilitation training, residential services and community-based support for adults with developmental disabilities in Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico counties.
Money raised during last year’s event went to client services such as adaptive equipment, therapeutic riding lessons, Christmas presents and an outing to a Shorebirds game, Ferry said.
“Once they come and see the clients, it’s all over,” said Cathy Gallagher, president of the Friends of the Worcester County Developmental Center, which sponsors Finnegan’s Wake. “We will have our PowerPoint showing the clients participating in activities that way people can see what their money is going toward and how beneficial the program is.”
Traditional Irish wakes last several days with crying, drinking and jokes to mourn the passing of a loved one, in addition to celebrating their life. Ocean City’s Finnegan’s Wake came from a similar event in Pennsylvania and is loosely based on the Irish song of the same name.
Finnegan’s Wake admission cost is $20.
Visit www.wcdcservices.org to learn more about the WCDC. Call 410-632-2383 for more information about Finnegan’s Wake.