Kathleen Sweeney and son Jay Strebb manage Shore Casino
Kathleen Sweeney and son Jay Strebb manage Shore Casino

ATLANTIC HIGHLANDS, NJ – It was the evening after the day set aside to honor the patron saint of Ireland, but close to 400 partygoers turned out at the Shore Casino last night to celebrate the first annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration hosted by the Sweeney and Strebb family, owners of the Shore Casino.

And what a celebration it was.  Jay, who is the head manager of the Casino with his mother, Kathleen Sweeney, gathered the kitchen crew and wait staff weeks in advance to plan a menu that’s reportedly like nothing that’s ever been served before this side of the Atlantic. 

Starting with Guinness beer, the favorite drink during the cocktail hour, which featured every other kind of beverage as well, from tea to Shore Casino designed special Irish themed cocktails, the kitchen’s culinary staff prepared everything from miniature twice baked potatoes filled with cheese and bacon along with whipped potatoes and mushrooms stuffed with shrimp to cheeses, dips, miniature hot dogs and more, all while preparing every popular buffet dish known to typical Irish buffets.  The corned beef, accompanied naturally with potatoes and cabbage, vied for popularity with the pork, Irish stews, Shepherd’s Pie,  vegetables, scones, Irish breads and more, and the dessert tray with its outstanding brownies and chocolate cake had to take a back seat to the Irish style rice pudding with raisins, fruit tarts, and bread pudding.

Stryker Family
Two generations of Strykers, Richard Sr, and Jr, and wives Pat and Jill were among the hundreds celebrating St. Patrick’s Day at the Shore Casino

“It was wonderful seeing so many people so happy and enjoying themselves,” said Jay Strebb, as he greeted and welcomed the nearly 400 people who attended.

But those in attendance had more to say about the spectacular evening. “This is what Atlantic Highlands is all about,” said one guest, “everybody is out here together, everyone is laughing, enjoying themselves, it’s like one big happy family.”


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And while she might be a former mayor, a former freeholder and a current immigration judge who commutes to New York to sit on the bench, Anna Little and her husband Rob wowed the crowd with their energy and Irish dancing.

Performers from The Daly Irish Dance School
Performers from The Daly Irish Dance School on First Avenue provided joy, talent, and Irish music and dance for the crowd at the Shore Casino.. Photo Credit: Jill Stryker

With the Ancient Order of Hibernians bagpipers welcoming the crowd at the beginning of the evening, music was the theme for the night, with Irish tunes and dance the highlight.  The Daly Irish Dance School came from its First Avenue studio to show to great applause and ovations the talent these youngsters have on the dance floor.

Then Irish Kevin and the Round the House Band kept young and old on the dance floor for hours, with their medley of well known Irish dance music as well as popular American rock and roll and Irish waltz.  It was the Irish anthem and God Bless America that put the final touch on the evening, with guests renewing friendships with others, promising future get togethers and thanking Kathleen and Jay for brining old-fashioned hometown fun and  friendship.

“It was a fine evening,” said Kathleen Sweeney, as she sat quietly with some close friends after the party broke up, “it made me so happy to see everyone having such a good time. The wait staff, the bartenders,  and the kitchen help with our wonderful chef went out of their way to make everything so very special for everyone, we have wonderful friends who pitched in and helped, too, wherever they could.  It was wonderful to see how everybody enjoyed it all.”

Although it has not yet been confirmed, it appears the Shore Casino will be hosting a special celebration for Easter as well, the second of what appears to be a full season of  unique activities and events at the yacht harbor’s Shore Casino.        


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Muriel J Smith

Muriel J Smith an award-winning journalist, former newspaper editor, book author and historian, Her newest venture is her blog, www.venividiscripto.com in...