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‘Band from County Fargo’ draws big crowd

Poitin, 'The Band from County Fargo,' wowed the crowd at the Speak Easy Saturday with their brand of Irish and Celtic music. Detroit Lakes High School graduate Mike Haney (at center) plays the mandolin for the five-member band, which performs two or three times a month at Dempsey’s Public House in Fargo.. Photo by Ted Fiskevold

By Ted Fiskevold

The Humane Society of the Lakes Spring Fund Raiser drew a full house at the Speak Easy Restaurant last Saturday night due largely to the lure of Irish and Celtic jigs, reels, marches and ballads performed by Poitin “The Band from County Fargo.”

“This is the seventh year in a row that we have performed at this LCHS spring event,” announced Poitin front man Jim Haney.

“Poitin means whiskey in Ireland.”

Further research finds that it is pronounced Pah-cheen and the whiskey is more akin to an illegal moonshine.

Poitin — “The Band from County Fargo” — performs at Dempsey’s Public House in Fargo two or three times a month, and is basically the house band for that downtown pub.

Regardless, Poitin packs a powerful punch and had Irish music revelers dancing, jigging, clapping their hands and at the very least foot-tapping under the tables for a fun Saturday night in Detroit lakes.

“It’s a win-win deal for everybody,” said HSL President Anne Marge Hoban, from White Earth Lake in Maple Grove Township.

“HSL gets the cover from the door and brings in the crowd with Poitin while the Speak Easy sells a lot more food and beverages than they would on a typical Saturday night. “

HSL also brings in revenue from the games and the silent auction.

All of the money we raise goes to operating expenses for the HSL — building upkeep, utilities, staff, and of course animal care.

So the big winners are homeless animals, and the people who get new pets when the animals HSL cares for find a good home!”

Jim Haney and his wife, Bonnie, who plays percussion and sings in Poitin, wear other hats in the Fargo-Moorhead community.

They reside in Moorhead, where Jim Haney is in his first term on the Moorhead City Council after upsetting the incumbent for Ward 2 in the 2013 Moorhead city elections.

And back in the mid-70’s, Jim Haney founded Haney’s Photography in Moorhead.

The Bonnie Haney Dance and Performing Company has studios in Fargo and Moorhead.

The Haney family has connections to Detroit Lakes and Becker County.

Jim Haney graduated from Detroit Lakes High School.

Jim’s sister, Mary Haney, is the manager of the Detroit Lakes Public Library. Their parents moved to Detroit Lakes in 1961.

Jim, Sr. lives on the Haneys’ family farm in Rochert and Theresa, their mother, died in Feb. of 2013.

The HSL holds several fund raisers each year, President Hoban explained.

“Our ‘Tuxes and Tails’ event is more formal with a sit down dinner. We hold that fun event in early Decemberm: she said.

“It features animals, more specifically dogs. This spring event held close to St. Patrick’s Day is also a lot of fun, but more loosely structured. It’s always fun at an HSL event. I always remind people that the true spirit of HSL events is about people helping animals, and it’s great to see people having fun while doing just that!”