The bagpipes are getting closer, along with the dulcet tones of the Massachusetts political class, because the St. Patrick’s Day Breakfast is just a few weeks off.
Set for the Flynn Cruiseport in the Seaport District on March 17, State Sen. Nick Collins will host the annual event of good-natured political jabs, cringe worthy jokes, and the dual celebration of Boston’s Irish community and Evacuation Day, the commemoration of the 1776 ousting of the British forces.
After an in-between year took the breakfast from the larger convention center back to the local Ironworkers Hall, Collins is taking the breakfast to a new location at the Cruiseport. Navy ships and a harbor view will be the background to a local tradition dating back to the early 20th century.
Performances will pepper the event, including a group of multi-instrumentalist sisters with Donegal roots from the Celtic Sojourn. “The ladies will rule the roost that day,” Collins said, tipping his hat to the women behind the scenes like seasoned event planner Dusty Rhodes, former Sen. Jack Hart’s chief of staff Jennifer Jackson, and the breakfast’s most recent Senator host, Linda Dorcena Forry.
“I’m excited about having a good celebration to remind us all about our roots, and how we’re all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, but we all have immigrant roots, even the British,” Collins said with a laugh.
“We’re a center for politics in the U.S.,” he said. “Democratic politics and empowerment of immigrant communities and social and economic upward mobility, and I think we still represent that. And in a city that on March 17, 1776 evacuated the British out of the city, never to be back again, represented the end of tyranny in the U.S. and the beginning of self-government and self- rule.”
The breakfast features the gamut of Massachusetts politicians every year, and this March will be no different leading into a busy presidential election season.
“We celebrate that at the breakfast with political leaders from the city and state, and we’re likely to see some national figures here this year, given what’s on the horizon in 2020, so that should be fun,” Collins said.
Many of the guests are old hats at the event, but expect to hear from rising politicians like U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, newly elected Suffolk District Attorney Rachael Rollins, and the Bay State’s 2020 presidential hopeful, U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren.
But for those still thinking wistfully of Mayor Martin Walsh’s 2016 video skit, wrapped in faux fur and singing Adele songs toward Gov. Charlie Baker, the full-scale breakfast will look different this year. No videos, Collins said, but there will be a run of parody songs and banter from the dais as electeds channel their best inner stand-up comedians.
“It’s using some of the cool parts of the Irish culture, using laughter and song to keep it going along,” Collins said, “and we show you can get together even when you have disagreements and have some fun. We want to be funny if we can be and witty if we can be, but nice, not mean.”