Ocean City Today

Annual Finnegan’s Wake at Seacrets to benefit WCDC

By Kara Hallissey | Mar 01, 2018
The Ocean City Pipe and Drum Band adds an air of authenticity with traditional Celtic music during the fifth annual Finnegan’s Wake fundraiser, last year at Seacrets on 49th Street.

(March 2, 2018) Live Irish music and food, happy hour drink prices and contests are all part of Ocean City’s sixth annual Finnegan’s Wake, which will be held Saturday, March 3, from 5-9 p.m. in Seacrets’ Morley Hall.

The mock Irish funeral is a fundraiser for the Friends of the Worcester County Developmental Center.

“There are lots of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but only one Finnegan’s Wake,” said WCDC Executive Director Jack Ferry. “There is audience participation and it is all for a great cause.”

The doors to Morley Hall open at 4:30 p.m., and the Ocean City Pipe and Drum Band will lead the mock funeral procession of Tim Finnegan at 5:15 p.m., along with clergy members, mourners, pallbearers, leprechauns and St. Patrick himself.

“People should get their green on,” Ferry said. “Wear your wildest Irish costume.”

Once the procession concludes, 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 jokester 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 10-second wailer taking home $50. Participants will be judged on volume, style and feeling.

Folk Heroes are back to headline Finnegan’s Wake this year, with Celtic and folk songs both acoustic and electric. They are known for their classic Irish sound and the use of multiple instruments on stage.

In addition, the Ocean City Pipe and Drum Band is slated to perform two sets of highland and military songs throughout the event.

There will be a silent auction with gift cards from local restaurants and businesses, art, Irish and Disney princess baskets, among other items.

“It is unique,” Ferry said. “What other party do you get to view a guy in a coffin? It is fun and it raises money for a very important cause by supporting people with intellectual disabilities.”

Around 140 people attended Finnegan’s Wake in 2017, which raised a little more than $4,000 for the Worcester County Developmental Center in Newark, Maryland. It provides employment opportunities, day habilitation training, residential services and community-based support for adults with intellectual disabilities in Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico counties.

Money raised during last year’s event went to client services and support such as equipment to enable them to work, and a lift to transfer clients who use a wheelchair, Ferry said.

Traditional Irish wakes last several days with crying, drinking, conversation and jokes to mourn the passing of a loved one, in addition to celebrating their life with a lively party. 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.

Cheers Beer, Wine and Spirits of Berlin, Realtor Steve Cohen, Fins Ale House and Raw Bar in Berlin, Apple Discount Drugs and Robert W. Nock Insurance Solutions are major sponsors of the event this year.

Finnegan’s Wake admission cost is $20. Visit www.wcdcservices.org to learn more about the WCDC or call 410-632-2383 for more information about Finnegan’s Wake.

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