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Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day

March 23, 2020
By Jane Whitmore , Emmetsburg News

The Emmetsburg Irish are a hardy bunch. Who else could successfully plan an annual parade and celebration, in a typically cold winter month, for 60 years!

It was fun working with Editor Joe to prepare the St. Pat's tab which is included in today's issue of The Reporter. I found myself remembering celebrations from years ago like an "old timer."

Remember the first time the Brian Boru Irish Pipe Band marched in the parade??That was 50 years ago - in 1970.

Remember the first O'Round the Loch Run when the starting line was right in the heart of downtown? That was 1981.

Here are some other "firsts":

The first organized parade was in 1961.

The first Miss Shamrock Pageant was in 1962.

The first Irish Dignitary came to Emmetsburg in 1963.

The Blarney Plant went into production in 1963.

Blarney Repellent went on the market in 1964.

On a personal note, I was honored to be among a group of ten people named "Honorary Irish." My turn was in 2000 and we called it "The Year of the Woman." I was Honorary Irish #5 - the first woman to receive the honor. Mary Jackman was the visiting Irish Dignitary. She was the first woman Irish Parliamentarian to visit our community. And, Myrna Heddinger was serving as Mayor of Emmetsburg. The girls ruled that celebration.

Check out the lists of Dignitaries, Grand Marshals, and Pageant winners in the special section - plus a bunch of pictures to bring back memories from years ago.

The 60th Annual St. Patrick's Celebration began with 19 Irishmen gathering on the courthouse square in the early 1960s. The celebration has grown to be recognized throughout the United States. At the helm of it all is a young group of dedicated volunteers. Members of the St. Pat's Board work all year long to host a week of Irish hospitality in Emmetsburg. Hats off to all of them.

St. Pat's weekend is a great time to share memories. The weekend celebration has always been a time for families to gather and friends to find one another for an annual visit. Families line up along the parade route and friends share stories over a pint. We're planning on fair skies and sunshine for this weekend. Hope to see you around town!



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