NORTH WILDWOOD, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Thousands of people flocked to the Jersey Shore Saturday for an annual festival that brings the flavors of Ireland to North Wildwood.
The annual Irish festival featured concerts, Irish stepdance, traditional food, and plenty of green drinks.
"This is halfway to St. Patrick's Day. That's why the festival is held this time of year, and it's a nice chance to get together during warm weather," said Joshua Nytch, a bagpiper who traveled with his group from New York for the festivities.
"I just love how the community comes together, everyone comes out to support Irish heritage and they love listening to the bagpipes, and I love that the whole community comes out for the common cause," he said.
Still, the busy shore weekend came with challenges for first responders.
"It's just important we are here and keeping people safe," said Mark Strange a supervisor with North Wildwood Beach Patrol.
While Hurricane Fiona didn't hit Wildwood's beaches, it did result in dangerous conditions, including rip currents. With lifeguard stands not on the beach, patrols asked beach-goers to stay on the sand.
"If you can stay out of the water, it's not beach weather at all, there are still west winds coming, so rip currents are going to be active," said Strange.
Meanwhile, police called in extra patrols both for the festival and to watch out for unsanctioned pop-up car parties known as H2Oi events in parking lots. Officers circled the Acme parking lot to deter reckless driving.
Despite the obstacles, thousands of people still enjoyed the festival. For those who celebrate every year, it can be a reunion.
"I see everybody that I haven't seen for a while. People come down from Philadelphia from every neighborhood," said Eileen Cooper, a vendor.
There is still time to join in on the fun of Irish weekend. The festival will conclude with a parade through North Wildwood on Sunday.