The 1st Annual “SOBER ST. PATRICK’S DAY” Event Will Debut on March 17 in New York City

A New Celebration of Irish Culture. World-Class Irish Musicians and Dancers, the New York Recovery Community and Irish- Americans Gather for an ALTERNATIVE St. Patrick’s Day Experience.
By: Sober St Patrick's Day
Feb. 22, 2012 - PRLog -- (NEW YORK, NY) -- On March 17th, many New Yorkers will celebrate the first annual  ”Sober St. Patrick’s Day” at Regis H.S. on the Upper East Side as part of the international celebrations of Irish patron Saint Patrick.  For over 200 years St Patrick’s Day has inspired the global Irish to participate in parades and cultural festivities from Savannah to Sydney. Now, many New Yorkers in recovery, who have long since abandoned the holiday, and those who also want an alcohol-free, family-friendly event, will gather to enjoy the best of Irish culture. Irish step dancers will twirl around the floor to live traditional music, while pipe bands and musical guests, like KT Sullivan and John Whelan serenade the crowd with soulful and lively Irish tunes. “Sober St. Patrick’s Day” will be a new addition to the hundreds of events on March 17th. It is presented with the help of the Irish Consulate General in New York, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), as well as a large cross section of treatment centers, national recovery organizations, and several individuals.

The Irish people have a proud history and much to celebrate. Their rise as one of the most successful and accomplished immigrant groups in the U.S. is well documented by academics. However, for years, the stigma of public intoxication on March 17th has perpetuated a negative perception of the holiday. To combat this effect and to allow some of the tens of thousands of New Yorkers in recovery and those looking to experience the day in an alternative way, William Spencer Reilly, a television executive who almost lost a family member to addiction, created “Sober St. Patrick’s Day.”

Noel Kilkenny, Consul General of Ireland, recently said, "When I was growing up in Ireland, I remember distinctly that all the pubs were closed on St. Patrick's Day. We really respected it as a special day.  l really like the idea of having a special event on this holiday for Americans of Irish heritage who are in recovery from alcoholism, to celebrate our shared heritage in a safe and inclusive environment."

The first annual “Sober St. Patrick’s Day” will take place at Regis High School (entrance at 60 East 85 St.) from 3pm to 7pm. Advance tickets are required (only $12 per person) and are available at  “Sober St. Patrick’s Day” will invite hundreds of guests from cultures far beyond the Irish community to gather around an international Irish holiday in an alcohol-free setting.  

"So many people in recovery, whether they're Irish or not, want the opportunity to enjoy an alcohol-free, sober St. Patrick's Day. This event is for them and also their families – the other victims of the disease of alcoholism. NCADD is proud to be a Founding Sponsor of this wonderful celebration of recovery and Irish culture,” said ROBERT J. LINDSEY, President & CEO, NCADD.

Scheduled to play is the eight time “All Ireland Champion” button accordion player, John Whelan, who will entertain with his all-star band; Brian Conway, the five time “All Ireland Champion” fiddle player, Brendan Dolan, singer KT Sullivan, the Mulvihill-Lynch Irish Dancers, “Sister Mary Caron” plus other surprise guests. Also attending will be Tara Conner, former Miss USA and Public Advocacy Consultant for Caron Treatment Centers.

The Honorary Committee (in formation) includes Irish Consul General in New York, NOEL KILKENNY, award-winning actress FIONNULA FLANAGAN, addiction psychiatrist, DR. GARRET O’CONNOR, writer and actor, MALACHY McCOURT, President & CEO of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, ROBERT J. LINDSEY, President & CEO of the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, (NACoA), SIS WENGER, (all will be attending)  noted New York music attorney, BOB DONNELLY,  and author and recovery specialist, WILLIAM MOYERS.

Todd Whitmer, Regional Vice President of Caron Treatment Centers, New York Office, Robert J. Lindsey of NCADD, Sis Wenger of NACoA and, John T. Evans of The William C. Dowling, Jr.  Foundation assisted Mr. Reilly in the initial development of this new event.

“Providing families, especially the children, an opportunity to participate in a St. Patrick’s Day  celebration that is sober, and great fun, is a gift whose benefits can be incalculable and whose memories can last a lifetime. I am happy to be involved,” said Sis Wenger, President & CEO, NACoA.

Sponsors of “Sober St. Patrick’s Day” include: The William C. Dowling, Jr. Foundation, Seabrook House, Caron Treatment Centers (NY), The Betty Ford Center, NCADD, Hazelden, National Association for Children of Alcoholics, INTER-CARE, Turning Point, MARWORTH, FREEDOM INSTITUTE, PRMA Inc., Father Martin’s Ashley, Faces & Voices of Recovery, Kelly Kimble Productions;  and private donors, Sue Carey and Joel Bradley.

In addition to NCADD which is headquartered in New York City, all of the other sponsors of “Sober St. Patrick’s Day” are involved in its promotion and marketing and have come together as a group to fund and help provide a healthy St. Patrick’s Day experience for their growing constituencies.

Mr. Reilly added, "Reclaiming the true spirit of the day is what this is all about.  And, for those people NOT in recovery, our message isn’t that we are against drinking on St Patrick’s Day, it’s that we want this holiday to be more about enjoying the beauty of Irish culture.”

When: March 17, 2012 from 3 -7pm                                                                                
Where: Regis High School – entrance at 60 East 85 Street (between Park & Madison Avenue, NYC)  

For more information about “Sober St. Patrick’s Day” and to purchase tickets ($12 each), please go to  

For general inquires, please contact or call 347-SOBER17 (347-762-3717)

For media inquiries, please contact:
Maura Kelly | 646-920-7155 |

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Tags:Irish, Sober, St Patrick S Day, March 17, Recovery, Alcohol Free, NCADD, NACoA, Tara Conner, Caron, Saint Patrick
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Page Updated Last on: Feb 23, 2012

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