The past weekend's snowfall should disappear quickly as the official start of Springtime has finally arrived with the green of the annual St. Patricks' Celebration in Emmetsburg. The 57th Annual gathering of the Irish and those that wish they were Irish is this weekend with a full slate of activities.
From a humble beginning in 1960, the annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration in Emmetsburg has become a tradition of family and heritage, with lots of fun and events for all ages over the weekend.
The 2017 edition of St. Pat's began Monday evening with the crowning of Miss Shamrock and the Junior Miss Shamrock royalty. The celebration continues this Thursday with the annual Open House at the St. Pat's Headquarters and Irish Gift Shop at 1001 Broadway from 3 to 5 p.m. Irish Dignitary Anne Rabbitte, TD, will officially arrive in Emmetsburg and will be greeted at the Open House.
The Irish Baked Potato Bar Dinner will be served at the Multipurpose Senior Center form 4:30 to 7 p.m and at 7 p.m. Thursday, the Emmetsburg High School Vocal Music Department will host its' Pops Concert in the high school Auditorium.
On St. Patrick's Day itself, Friday, March 17, the weekly Emmetsburg Chamber Coffee will be held at the St. Pat's Headquarters and Irish Gift shop from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. The public is invited to stop in and enjoy Irish coffee and cookies.
Irish Dignitary Anne Rabbitte will have a whirlwind day as she tours the community and also meets with school children as well. The remainder of the day, The Lenten Fish Fry will take place as usual on Friday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the VFW and from 5:30 to 10 p.m., the Third Annual St. Pat's Bean Bag Tournament will take place in the tent at 10th and Broadway. The second night of the Emmetsburg High School Vocal Music Department Pops Concert will take place in the high school Auditorium at 7 p.m.
The St. Pat's Headquarters and Irish Gift shop will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday for the celebration.
Saturday will start out at 7 a.m. with the St. Pat's Chili Cook-Off in the St. Pat's heated tent at 10th and Broadway. The event will run through the morning, as teams start preparing their ingredients at 7 a.m.
The contest will allow the use of beans in the preparation of chili, but all chili must be cooked from scratch on site. That means each team must start with raw meat and utilize regular spices, rather than pre-packaged chili seasonings.
Judging of the chili entries will take place at 11 a.m. and public tasting will also begin at 11 a.m. and continue as long as supplies last. There is a fee for the public tasting, which will include a commemorative mug.
The traditional O'Round the Loch Scholarship Runs, will begin at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with the start of the Half Marathon, to be followed by the 10K Run at 8:40 a.m. and the 5K run starting at 9 a.m. The 1.7 mile Fun Run/Walk will begin at 9:10 a.m. with all events starting and finishing at the Smith Wellness Center at Iowa Lakes Community College. Awards for the events will take place at the conclusion of each race in the gym at the Smith Wellness Center.
Entries are still being accepted and can be made the morning of the event at the Wellness Center prior to the start of the runs.
At 9 a.m., the St. Pat's Kids Zone event will take place at Corrigan Hall. The event will feature activities for kids, including face painting, crafts, a photo booth complete with props, just bring your own camera.
The popular youth Pedal Tractor Pull, sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America, will return to the Kids Zone event this year, along with Kiracatures by Kira. Charicatures created free by artist Kira and local artist Lauren Naig will once again be provided through the sponsorship of the Palo Alto County Arts Foundation.
A new event to St. Pat's will be the Langered Frolf Tournament at Harrison Park. The St. Pat's version of Disc Golf will start at 9?a.m. and run through 12 noon, with a rules meeting at 9:15 a.m. at Harrison Park.
It wouldn't be St. Pat's without Irish Stew, and the annual Irish Stew lunch will be offered at the Senior Center from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. for a free-will offering.
At 11 a.m., the First United Methodist Church will offer a Potato Bar-A-Palooza, with serving continuing until 1 p.m. for a free-will offering.
Also starting at 11 a.m. on Saturday, chainsaw sculptor-artist Jeff Klatt will fire up his tools of the trade to carve near the Emmetsburg Fire Hall. Once again, Klatt will create two wood sculptures, with the completed sculptures to be auctioned off at 6 p.m. at the Emmetsburg Fire Hall at the Gathering of the Clans.
1:30 p.m. will bring the 57th edition of the Famous St. Patrick's Day Parade up Broadway. The parade will start on south Broadway and will proceed north towards Five Island Lake. Once again, a celebration favorite, the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band of St. Paul will fill the air with the skirl of the pipes and the beat of the drums as they march in the parade and then travel through the community afterwards.
The parade promises to be filled with a variety of entries, including several Shrine units, as well as the Emmetsburg Middle School and High School Bands, which will combine forces to march in the parade to continue a long-standing tradition.
Following the parade, the Social Gathering of the Clans will get underway at 3 p.m. at the Fire Hall. At 3:30 p.m., a free kids movie downtown at the Riviera Theater, "The Wildlife", will be shown.
The auction of Jeff Klatt's chainsaw sculptures will take place at 6 p.m. at the Fire Hall and immediately following will be a performance by the Stu Ryan O'Brien Band in the St. Pat's Beverage Garden, located in the heated tent on 10th Street, where they will perform in the tent from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday to close out the day's events.
On Sunday, the Emmetsburg Rotary Club will sponsor its annual scholarship Pancake Breakfast from 8 a.m. to 12 noon at the VFW.
The official activities will wrap up Sunday afternoon with the St. Pat's Trap Shoot at Sportsman's Park north of Cylinder. Shooting will take place from 12 noon to 3 p.m. For more information, contact Don Bruch at 712-852-3240.
"The weather forecast looks to be very good for St. Pat's and we hope everyone will let their Irish come out this weekend," said St. Pat's Chair Andy Joyce.