St. Patrick’s Irish Festival a time for shamrocks and fun

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Photo courtesy Sally Neel
St Patrick’s Episcopal Church, 225 S. Pagosa Blvd., is preparing for this year’s annual Irish Festival, set for March 14 from 11a.m. to 2 p.m. The event includes the World’s Shortest St Patrick’s Day Parade.

By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church’s Irish Festival is promising to be a joyful celebration for the entire family. The day will include more than 20 vendor booths, free food and nonalcoholic drinks (beer and Irish coffee available for $5 — identification required), a snowman contest, free face painting and crafts for the kids, free fly-tying and fly casting classes, free Irish music entertainment by NightSong Trio, and the debut of St. Patrick’s bagpipe band and dancers.
The morning will be kicked off with the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a parade that stretches from one end of the parking lot to the other. The parade will be led by a color guard from the church’s Venture Crew, the new St. Patrick’s bagpipe band and dancers, and a float with St. Patrick himself (aka Fr. Doug Neel). Also included in the parade will be a fire truck, an ambulance and a trash truck. Children are invited to ride on the float with St. Patrick. Others who wish to march in the parade are asked to line up at the north end of the parking lot by 11:20 a.m. The parade begins at 11:30 a.m. Warning: Don’t be late or you’ll miss it.
Free spaces are still available for vendors, but please call Lynne McCrudden at 731-5801 to reserve a spot as soon as possible. The entire event is free of charge, though donations of nonperishables such as canned goods, 1-pound bags of rice, peanut butter, jelly, cereal or Hamburger Helper for the church’s foodbank ministry will be gratefully received.
“The point of the festival is to provide a fun event for our community in celebration of our patron saint, St. Patrick,” said Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “We are not out to make a profit for the church. We appreciate all donations to benefit our outreach ministries, however, as this money will go directly back into helping members of the community.”
So, start assembling your most outlandish St. Patrick’s costume and join the fun. The festival begins at 11 a.m. in the church parking lot and will end at 2 p.m.
St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Parking will be made available at the hospital parking lot and at John Paul II Catholic Church located on either side of the church. Dogs are welcome, but must be kept on a leash. The event will take place snow or shine, so make your plans to join in the fun.