St. Patrick’s Day is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the time-honored traditions of Irish music, dance, food, and fellowship. The Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center’s annual “Irish Done Right!” will offer all of these traditions.

Held March 12 at the Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center’s Educational Complex, located at 70 Hiddenite Church Road in Alexander County, this special event offers a traditional Irish meal, live performances of traditional music and dance from Erin Tide Band and St. Joseph’s Irish Dancers. Advanced dancers will serve and waitresses and waiters for the dinner.

Beginning at 6:30 p.m. and serving as a prelude to the dinner performance, the audience will be entertained by the Celtic Youth Band students of Veda Bafford.

Dinner will begin at 7 p.m. with the main program to follow at 8 p.m. This event is priced at $16 per person with dinner, performance, and tax included. Reservations are required and may be made by calling the center at (828) 632-6966.

Guests will witness the fast-paced, skillful dance steps of Catawba County’s own St. Joseph’s Irish Dancers. This dance troupe, under the direction of Meg Barrett, is comprised of students from the Unifour area, ranging from elementary to high school age.

The dancers will perform to authentic music from Iredell County area ensemble, “Erin Tide Band,” which is organized by Rick and Veda Bafford of Iredell County.

Dance performances will feature Irish jigs, reels, slip jigs, hard-shoe, and Ceili’ dances. Musical entertainment will include Irish ballads and haunting instrumentals from the Emerald Isle. Guests are encouraged to participate in the “wearin’ of the green.”

African Safari Gallery Talk

In conjunction with their Black History Month programming, the Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center will host an African Safari Gallery Talk and Slideshow by Phyllis Bailey. Held in the Lucas Mansion Gallery (316 Hiddenite Church Road in Alexander County) on Feb. 23 from 3-4:30 p.m, the event is free to enjoy.

In 2018, Bailey, of Iredell County, took a long-planned trip of a lifetime on an Africa Safari.

This gallery talk will focus on the wildlife, landscape, weather, people, and customs in the regions of Africa in which she traveled. An avid photographer, Bailey brings that interest and skill to a program that will delight and inspire all who attend.

In addition to working as a lifelong educator with Mitchell Community College, Bailey has worked on numerous projects such as the African-American Veterans Project, genealogy and family research for Alexander and Iredell counties, and regional quilt research and collection just to name a few.

Bailey is currently working on an extensive history of African American schools in Iredell County.

To learn more about the Hiddenite Arts & Heritage Center call (828) 632-6966, email or visit

These projects were supported by the N.C. Arts Council, a division of the Department of Natural & Cultural Resources.

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