Congratulations to State Senator Eileen Donoghue and City Manager Kevin Murphy for successfully transitioning the 30-something year old Lowell St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast to an evening dinner. The UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center was packed with all the usual Lowell and Greater Lowell political suspects. The high point for me was the food which, given the shaky culinary heritage of that site all the way back to the Lowell Hilton, is saying a lot.
The food consisted of a corned beef and cabbage buffet with (red) corned beef, braised cabbage, roasted potatoes, carrots, and Irish soda bread with bread pudding for dessert. There was also a coffee station and, in a departure from the morning breakfast rituals, a couple of cash bars ringed the dining hall.
The entertainment was tolerable with some genuine spikes of humor and not too many cringe-inducing moments. Besides Senator Donoghue and Manager Murphy who served as co-masters of ceremonies, the speakers were Governor Charlie Baker, State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, Mayor Rodney Elliott and State Representatives Tom Golden, Dave Nangle and Rady Mom. The professional comedian, Artie Januario, is a pharmacist from Billerica who has performed here before. He was very funny. To round out the speaking and entertainment, the Lowell High School JROTC Honor Guard presented the colors and the National Anthem was sung by the Lowell High School Chorus. Fr. Daniel Crahen, OMI, gave the opening prayer and music was provided by the Boston Blackthorne band and the O’Shea Chaplin Irish Dancers rounded out the entertainment.
As for the onstage political commentary, I started taking notes but stopped very quickly. Words are not sufficient to recreate what we say last night (there were hats, wigs and other props). Fortunately, the trusty crew from Lowell Educational Television (Channel 22) was there recording everything so I’ll post a link to the replay schedule once it’s available.
And for those of you longing for the old days of Lowell St. Patrick’s Day breakfasts, here are a couple of links to vintage Ken Harkins performances now available on YouTube: