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Friendly Sons of St. Patrick holding time at Encore

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By Josh Resnek

One of the city’s oldest continuous St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations organized and held by the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick will take place at the Encore Boston Harbor Casino and Hotel in March.

This represents a significant move from the Connolly Center, where the celebration has been held in recent years.

It is also likely to represent a changing time as the price for entry is $100 per person with tables selling for $900, according to those organizing the event.

“What is going to happen to the elderly? Are they going to spend $100 each for their annual corned beef and cabbage dinner with all the fixings?” asked a local businessman who has attended the time for many years.

“How will they get to the Encore location? They won’t be walking there, I can assure you,” he added.

“Unless someone treats them, they won’t be there.”

The elderly comprise a large percentage of the total crowd expected to attend every year, and especially during recent years.

Recent St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have revealed a softening of the events lasting power.

St. Patrick’s Day isn’t what it used to be in Everett.

Crowds have shrunken, especially so during the past few years. The robust nature of the humor that was alive at the head table has been replaced by the politicization of the event by the mayor and the representative.

What used to be an opportunity for politicians to roast one another, as well as to toast one another, has been replaced by a more modulated form of celebration. The roasting has all but disappeared.

Senator Sal DiDomenico has been the exception during the past several celebrations.

His efforts at comedy with highly political photographs blown up for everyone to see and to laugh at have become the one throwback that remains a link to a time long past.

During the height of the era when the celebration had become a yearly meeting place for the state’s most successful politicians, the celebration was held at the Bon Saison.

The Bon Saison no longer exists. It is now a Brazilian restaurant, and a very fine one at that.

The head table at the Bon Saison St. Paddy’s Day time of the Friendly Sons contained an array of political luminaries in years past, and a huge crowd as well.

Back then, the Everett time was on the circuit for the politicians who also had to attend the annual roast in Southie before heading over to Everett.

The late publisher of the Leader Herald Joe Curnane was the chief supporter for the annual time here.

The 1993 Friendly Sons celebration was a who’s who of politicians in Massachusetts.

Among those seated at the head table were: George Keverian, US Congressman Ed Markey, Mayor John McCarthy, Governor Bill Weld, Globe columnist Mike Barnicle, State Auditor Joe DiNucci, Senator Billy Bulger, DA Scott Harshbarger, Senator Tom Birmingham, Rep. Ed Connolly, DA Tom Reilly and Sheriff McGonagle.

The good-natured political roasting then made the event one of the most memorable from year to year.

This year’s event at the casino and hotel will be about glitter and bright lights.

What would the old-timers think about that?

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