By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW
Preparations are being made for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day Irish Festival, an annual celebration at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church, scheduled for March 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The planning committee is offering free space for vendor booths. These booth spaces are utilized by nonprofits who wish to get out information to the public or make money for their groups, or arts and crafts or food makers who wish to sell their products. The 10-foot by 5-foot space is free. Vendors must provide their own tents, tables and chairs.
The festival also presents the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade begins on the north end of the parking lot and ends on the south end. The parade begins at 11:30 a.m. If you are a little late arriving, you will miss it.
The parade always is led by a float featuring St. Patrick himself (who looks remarkably like Fr. Doug Neel). Who or what comes next is anybody’s guess, though if you or your organization would like to participate in a very short walk, you are invited to do so. Call the church office for more information.
This year’s festivities will also include a snowman-building contest. We are reasonably sure there will be plenty of snow on the front lawn to create a lot of impressive snow-people. Basic supplies will be made available, such as coal, carrots and sticks. However, you are welcome to bring additional decorations to make your snowman a work of art.
The admission and food is free, though monetary and canned food donations are appreciated. Bring canned goods for the food box ministry or drop a bit of cash into the donation box to help feed the hungry in Archuleta County.
“We are not trying to make money for the church,” said Fr. Doug Neel. “Any donations will be contributed to our food box ministry.”
Beer and Irish coffee will be made available to those of legal age (ID required) for the purchase of a $5 drink ticket. Nonalcoholic drinks will be free.
“This is our fourth year to have the festival at St. Patrick’s and the attendance has grown every year,” said Neel. “It is such a fun day. People come in their most outrageous St. Patrick’s attire. The parade, the food, the vendors, the music and celebrating with members of the community represents the best of Pagosa Springs. This town knows how to have fun!”
If you are interested in setting up a booth or would like to participate in the parade, call the church office at 731-5801 and talk to Lynne McCrudden. Please leave a message with your name and number if she is not available and she will call you back.
By Sally Neel