St. Patrick’s Irish Festival scheduled for Saturday, March 16

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    Photo courtesy Sally Neel
    Michelle Chapman and her mother, Burdette, get into the spirit of St Patrick’s Day at the annual Irish Festival to be held at St Patrick ‘s Episcopal Church, Saturday, March 16, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Free food, lots of vendors and the World’s Shortest Parade mark the festivities. The parade begins at noon.

    By Sally Neel
    Special to The PREVIEW
    St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church is preparing for a great festival day in honor of its patron saint. On Saturday, March 16, beginning at 11 a.m., St. Patrick’s Day will begin in earnest on the parking lot behind St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd.
    “This will be our fourth parking lot Irish festival,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s, “and it promises to be our best yet.”
    The parking lot will be lined with booths of vendors and nonprofits. There will be a live Irish concert, fly-tying and casting demonstrations, Irish libations, free food and, of course, the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
    The parade is led by a trailer filled with young leprechauns and St. Patrick himself, holding court over the proceedings. There is a piper band led by our own Jim Dorian, a fire truck (later available for kids to peruse), a few vintage automobiles and (last but not least) a garbage truck. Don’t blink. You might miss it.
    The parade begins at noon on the north end of the parking lot and concludes on the south end of the parking lot. Don’t be late or you’ll miss it. Any others who wish to participate in the parade should arrive by 11:30 a.m. to line up. Children are invited to ride in the float with St. Patrick. Parking will be available at the hospital next door to the church.
    The NightSong Trio, with Jessica Peterson on flute, Heidi Tanner on violin and Sally Neel at the piano, will present a 30-minute concert of Irish jigs in the church. There will be a class in fly-casting and fly-tying offered by the Men of St. Patrick’s, and free hamburgers and hot dogs will be available in the parish hall (donations gratefully accepted).
    “This is not meant to be a fundraising event,” said Neel. “All proceeds will be given to the church’s food box ministry. We just want to provide a fun place for our town’s people to enjoy the day with friends.”
    If you are a vendor, there are still a few slots left to set up a booth. The space is free of charge. Vendors must supply their own table or tent. For more information and to reserve a space, contact Lynne McCrudden at 731-5801.
    Pets are welcome, but must be on a leash. Owners are responsible for waste cleanup. Put on your favorite, most outlandish Irish green and come and join the fun.