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56th Annual St. Patricks’ Celebration This Weekend

By Staff | Mar 15, 2016

The official start of Springtime has finally arrived with the green of the annual St. Patricks’ Celebration in Emmetsburg. The 56th Annual gathering of the Irish and those that want to be 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 2016 edition of St. Pat’s actually started last Sunday afternoon with the crowning of Miss Shamrock and the Junior Miss Shamrock royalty. The celebration continues this Wednesday evening, March 16, with a concert of Contemporary Christian artists “The Protest” and “I Am Spartacus” at the VFW at 7 p.m. Doors will open at 6 p.m. for the “”Come One Come All” tour appearance of these two groups in a new offering for the St. Pat’s celebration. Tickets will be available at the door for the concert, which will be a benefit for the Feed Our Kids Emmetsburg program and the United Methodist Church Youth Trip Fund.

On St. Patrick’s Day itself, Thursday, March 17, Irish Dignitary John Deasy, TD, will officially arrive in Emmetsburg and will be greeted at the Open House at the St. Pat’s Headquarters and Irish Gift shop at 1001 Broadway, from 3 to 5 p.m. The public is invited to stop in and meet Deasey, who represents County Waterford. Irish coffee and cookies will be served during the open house to kick off the celebration.

“John will be flying into Des Moines Wednesday evening, March 16,” said Andy Joyce, co-chair of the Emmetsburg St. Patrick’s Association. “He will be visiting the Iowa Statehouse on St. Patrick’s Day, where he will address the House and Senate before coming to Emmetsburg.”

Deacy will have a busy visit to Iowa’s Irish Capitol, as he will be on hand at the St. Pat’s Headquarters Friday morning for the weekly Chamber Coffee, starting at 9:30 a.m. The remainder of the day, Deasy will visit students at Emmetsburg Catholic School, West Elementary School and Iowa Lakes Community College. He will visit POET?Biorefining that afternoon and tour the ethanol plant. To end the day, Deasy will be a participate in the St. Pat’s Bean Bag Tournament.

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.

Also taking place on Thursday will be the Irish Baked Potato Bar Dinner at the Multi Purpose Senior Center from 4:30 to 7 p.m.

The evening’s events will be capped off with the annual St. Patrick’s Talent Show at the Emmetsburg High School Auditorium, featuring performances by several groups from Emmetsburg High School and Middle School as well as several individuals. The program will begin at 7 p.m.

Activities ramp up on Friday, March 13 with the Emmetsburg Chamber Coffee, which will be hosted at the St. Pat’s Headquarters and Irish Gift Shop from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.

After a favorable response in 2015, an even larger tent will be erected on 10th Street next to Courthouse Square and will host the Second Annual St. Pat’s Beanbag Tournament. The event will be limited to 32 teams. There will be two divisions, a Mens’ Division and a Co-Ed Division, each with 16-team brackets.

Warmups for the event start at 5:30 with the actual tournament beginning at 6:30 p.m. The tent will be heated and lighted to allow the tournament to continue through the evening.

The weekly Lenten Fish Fry will also be held at the VFW Hall from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday as well.

Saturday will see events starting at 7 a.m. with the St. Pat’s Chili Cook-Off, which will take place in the St. Pat’s heated tent on 10th Street. 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 a public tasting will begin at 12 noon and continue as long as supplies last. There is a fee for the public tasting, which will include a commemorative mug.

There is no entry fee to participate in the contest, which will feature a first place prize of $300, with Second place earning $125 and $75 for the Third place finishers.

There is still room for contestants to sign up for the event. To sign up, contact the St. Pat’s headquarters at 712-852-4326.

A traditional event, the 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 10 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.

New to the Kids Zone event on Saturday will be a youth Pedal Tractor Pull, sponsored by Farm Credit Services of America.

Kiracatures by Kira will also be a part of the Kids Zone, with caricatures created free by artist Kira and local artist Lauren Naig, under the sponsorship of the Palo Alto County Arts Foundation.

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 at Courthouse Square. This year, 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 56th 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, including the Oriental Band and Rat Patrol units from Sioux City, among others. And, the Emmetsburg Middle School and High School Bands will 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, a free kids movie downtown at the Riviera Theater, “The Rise of the Guardians”, 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 Langers Ball Irish Band in the St. Pat’s Beverage Garden, located in the heated tent on 10th Street.

The Langers Ball has performed the last two years to great reviews and are returning by popular demand to perform in the tent from 6 to 10 p.m. on Saturday to close out the day’s events.

On Sunday, March 20, 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 and join us,” noted Joyce.