Irish Dancing and Pipes & Drums in Niantic

The Black Sheep Irish pub in Niantic pulled out all the stops on St. Patrick's Day.

Niantic may not have a parade but there were plenty of events to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, starting on Saturday with the O'Niantic 5K, Wee Mile, and server relay, which had waiters and waitresses from local restaurants running with pints on trays. 

The fun began on Saturday at The Black Sheep, Niantic's Irish pub, with music from Clan O'Cleary. On St. Patrick's Day, Spirited Soles Dance Academy got the party started on the right foot with traditional Irish step dancing at 2 p.m. 

Sixteen dancers ages 6 to 17 danced the Treble Reel, the Hornpipe, the Treble Jig, and the Light Jig Reel until the floor shook.

Spirited Soles Dance Academy, which is located at 1495 Route 85 on the Waterford/Montville line, has been around for 12 years now keeping traditional Irish dancing alive and well with about 90 students at the moment.

Shortly after 5 p.m., the New London Fire Department's Pipe and Drum band arrived. It was a tight fit in a packed bar, but they made it work. It was a busy weekend for the band, which marched in the parades in Bridgeport, Newport, and New London.

They did a bit of a pub crawl around New London, playing at several local bars after the parade before heading to The Black Sheep. Their final stop on Sunday was the casino.

Bridget Yuknat, a member of New London Fire Department who plays snare drum, said that it's an "old school tradition" for fire departments to have pipe and drum bands. They were formed originally for the purpose of playing funerals but St. Patrick's Day is much more fun!

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