“IT WAS A TIME”
A big grateful “Thank you” to all of you who came to Irish Fest-Milwaukee on Aug. 17-20, 2006, to celebrate the Toomeys/Twomeys/Tuomeys, etc., being the “Official Clan” of this year’s festival. To everyone to came from near and far (some from very far), thank you a million. You made the reunion a huge success in my book.
There was a T-shirt seen at Irish Fest this year that said “4 Days of Singing, Dancing, Drinking, and Story-Telling...So Who Died?” It couldn't be more appropriate for Irish Fest and the Toomey Reunion. The weather was great over the weekend although we had a downpour on Thursday night, and a little rain on Friday night. Being that it was Irish Fest there had to be some rain. Saturday and Sunday were gorgeous days though, sunny, warm but not too hot, and huge crowds.
All told, the estimated total attendance at the clan reunion was at least 150 which is a great turnout. There were representatives from 23 states in the U.S., and several from outside the U.S. (See below for the full list of where people came from. It's impressive!)
The impact we had on Irish Fest and around Milwaukee was noticeable. It was about Saturday when people really started taking note of our presence, whether it was at that amazing parade on Saturday afternoon, or around the festival grounds and the city itself. They'd see us in our T-shirts and actually pronounce our name correctly!
There was a guy at Mo’s Irish Pub on Wisconsin Ave. in Milwaukee who told me Saturday night: “I wish I were a Toomey!” Along the parade route, which at times was 6 deep on both sides, we were cheered and I heard someone yell “Yeah Toomeys!” at one point.
In the parade, some very talented young Toomeys -- the next generation -- held our banner at the front of our section and two young Toomey gymnasts wowed the crowd by walking on their hands for good portions of the very long parade route. Our position in the parade route was near the end, behind bagpipers, bands, color guards, etc. We basically were just wearing Toomey/Twomey/Tuomey T-shirts, yelling, chanting ("Sock It - Toomey!") and people were clapping as we went by.
Tom Barrett -- the Mayor of the City of Milwaukee (the 23rd largest city in the U.S.) -- proclaimed Aug. 19, 2006, to be "Toomey Day" throughout the city of Milwaukee.
Click above (or paste the URL into the address bar in your web browser) to view a scanned image of the official signed proclamation. Observant readers will note that Mayor Barrett shares the same name as the region of County Cork where our surname was the 2nd most numerous in the official census of the year 1659. Some say there are no coincidences...everything happens for a reason.
We had a "Wall of Fame." We had an area where people brought personal family history documents. We had a message board for people looking for information on ancestors -- and there were some connections made through that, as well as through conversations.
Awards were given for the Eldest (Peggy, 82), Youngest (Kate, 2 months), who came the Farthest (Fran, from Afghanistan), who came from the Closest (Liz from Jackson St. in Milwaukee), Birthday was that weekend (David and Maureen), Anniversary was that weekend (Mike & Lisa), Married the Longest (Marianne, 57 years), and Most Children (Peggy, 14).
We had "open mike" and some sang, told stories and jokes, read poems, and otherwise shared with those present. We have some talent! We remembered the deceased members of our families -- our elders, those who went before us and who are the reason we are here.
We also talked a bit about having a full clan reunion in Ireland, maybe in 2008 or 2009. If interested, stay tuned and keep in touch.
Please check out the photos posted already (many more to come) at the web page below. Click on a small preview to see the large size photo. For some reason, some of them don't have small thumbnail previews -- they're still there, just click on them. There are already 80 photos, and more to come. Check back at the photo album frequently over the next few weeks.
PHOTO ALBUM - Toomey Clan Reunion - Aug. 17-20, 2006
WHERE WE CAME FROM
-California (Bakersfield, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Monica, Santa Rosa)
-Colorado (Brighton, Fort Collins, Platteville)
-Connecticut (Coventry, Hartford, New London)
-Florida (Edgewater, Fort Walton Beach, Hulbert Field, New Smyrna Beach, Orange Park, Palmetto)
-Illinois (Arlington Heights, Buffalo Grove, Cary, Champaign, Chicago, Crystal Lake, DeKalb, Evanston, Lombard, Westchester, Woodstock)
-Indiana (Crawfordsville, Fort Wayne, Lafayette)
-Massachusetts (Boston, Lowell, Martha's Vineyard, Quincy, Springfield, Woodbridge, Worcester)
-Michigan (Rochester Hills, St. Joseph, Sawyer, Troy)
-Minnesota (Bloomington, Chaska, Eagan, Eden Prairie, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Shakopee)
-Missouri (St. Louis)
-New Jersey (New Brunswick, Scotch Plains, Trenton, Whiting)
-New York (New City)
-North Carolina (Asheville)
-Ohio (Avon, Canton, Carrolton, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, Delaware, Elyria, Galloway, Hilliard, Jackson, Lima, Newark, North Canton, Westerville, Worthington, Xenia)
-Virginia (Arlington, Chantilly, Fairfax)
-Wisconsin (Appleton, Columbus, Greenfield, Madison, Mazomanie, Milwaukee, New Berlin, Verona, Waukesha)
-Ireland (Cork City, Dublin, County Galway, County Mayo)