(March 8, 2019) Live Irish music and food, happy hour drink prices and contests are all part of the resort’s seventh annual Finnegan’s Wake, Saturday, March 9, 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, which provides employment opportunities, residential services and community-based supports for adults with intellectual disabilities in Worcester, Somerset and Wicomico counties.

“There are lots of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, but only one Finnegan’s Wake,” said Worcester County Developmental Center Executive Director Jack Ferry. “It is unique and it is a lot of fun.”

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

“[Finnegan] is a construction worker in Ireland who enjoys a little whiskey before work in the morning,” Ferry said. “It is from an Irish ballad from the mid 1800’s.”

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Cathy Gallagher and Steve Cohen prepare to launch the mock funeral procession during the sixth annual Finnegan’s Wake last year at Seacrets on 49th Street. The event raises funds for the Friends of the Worcester County Development Center in Newark.

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, they 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.

The Ocean City Pipe and Drum Band will perform two sets of highland and military songs throughout the event.

There will be a silent auction with artwork, Pampered Chef items, self-care products, lottery tickets, and gift cards for local restaurants, among other prizes.

Around 150 people attended Finnegan’s Wake in 2018, which raised a little more than $6,000 for the Worcester County Developmental Center in Newark, Maryland. 

Money raised during last year’s event went to client services and support such as automatic door openers for people who use wheelchairs, gifts at Christmas, tickets to see the Delmarva Shorebirds baseball team, adaptive equipment and work tools, to name a few items, 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.

“People should get their green on,” Ferry said. “It’s the kickoff of the St. Patrick’s season, a chance to get your best green costume out and of course a great time for a great cause.”

Finnegan’s Wake admission cost is $20. Visit www.wcdcservices.org to learn more about the Worcester County Developmental Center or call 410-632-2383 for info about Finnegan’s Wake.

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