The "good byes" have been said, promises made to renew friendships in a year's time, and the book closes on another St. Patrick's Celebration in Iowa Irish Capitol. This past weekend's St. Patrick's Day Celebration certainly had something for everyone one merely had to look at every point on a compass to find an activity or event going on during the weekend.
The O'Round the Loch Runs had very moderate weather conditions this year, the sun actually graced the runners for a time on Saturday morning, and despite the brisk temperatures, some very competitive times were posted for the first event of the year. All ages turned out to enjoy Mother Nature on Saturday morning, and Man's Best Friend also joined in the event in a couple of cases.
Down at Corrigan Hall, the younger set were being entertained with balloon art, face painting, a magician/juggler and Kiracatures by Kira, a very talented young lady who has captivated people for several years now with her caricature drawings at both St. Pat's and at the Palo Alto County Fair. A long line of subjects waited their turn before Kira to have a keepsake of the St. Pat's created on the spot.
Now, there was no excuse for anyone to go hungry on Saturday no excuse whatsoever. From the traditional Irish Stew dinner at the Senior Citizens Center to barbeque and turkey and dining under the giant Irish Flag at Tenth and Broadway, as well as all of the food establishments in the community, there were a variety of culinary options, including the old standby Corned Beef and Cabbage.
Of course, everyone knows that Saturday of St. Pat's means one thing the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade!
Who doesn't love a parade?
For the second year, the parade began south of the business district, down around 17th Street, and worked its way northward on Broadway. The nation's colors led the parade, as the VFW Color Guard, followed by the American Legion from Whittemore, proudly marched up Broadway with the crowds standing in salute to our country's colors. The cheers began as our visiting Irish dignitary, Michelle Mulherin, TD, and her sister Grace, rode in the classic horse-drawn carriage, smiling and waving to the assembled crowds along Broadway.
The St. Patrick's royal court also had plenty of smiles and waves for the crowd as well, and when they joined Michelle Mulherin and her sister and the other dignitaries on the reviewing stand, there were plenty of photographs taken of the lovely young ladies and a group of photo-bombing Leprechauns as well!
You can't have a parade without music the Emmetsburg Middle School and High School Bands joined forces to parade up Broadway, stopping to serenade the reviewing stand, and were soon followed by a group of Barbershoppers, who sang the Irish Blessing for the reviewing stand. The Shriners' Oriental Band of Sioux City also marched through the parade route, providing entertainment along with the other Shriners' entries.
But then came a crowd favorite. In the distance, one could see a tall, black, bearskin hat, marching up the center of the street. The skirl of bagpipes filled the air with the sharp snap of the snare drums and the booming beat of the bass drum the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band returned to Emmetsburg, and for the rest of the day and well into the evening, made their rounds in the community and sharing the music of the pipes.
Don't worry; there was also a green horse, a green pony and a green dog. However, I did not see any other green critters - although there were a few folks who may have thought they saw green things as the day went on...but I can't attest to that.
And like an parade, any child who went home without candy was sitting in a car. There was candy galore on the streets. And, from experience, I can attest that a Tootsie Roll, when exposed to temperatures under 35 degrees, could possibly be considered a dangerous weapon when flung from a passing parade entry.
And in case you missed it, the parade also featured two proposals of marriage that were both accepted with tears and smiles, from all accounts. Yes, St. Pat's was a Grand Weekend. It's obvious that there's magic in the air on St. Patrick's Day and that's no blarney!