EMMETSBURG - For Phillip Brown, of Emmetsburg, getting an outfit together to attend the annual St. Patrick's Day parade is pretty easy, he puts on his kilt, green tennis shoes and green food coloring.
That's it, or rather, that is the rest of it.
He said he's been turning himself green for several years to attend the festivities and that almost universally, the reaction is good.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Marilyn Mugan Holmes, of Cedar Rapids, enjoys a few laughs and the company of some friends as she enjoys a cup of traditional Irish stew Saturday morning during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Emmetsburg. The stew feed is a fundraiser for the Palo Alto Democrats.
"Everybody loves it," he said.
Working carefully, he said it takes about half an hour to apply the coloring.
And removing it later?
"It comes off real easy," he said.
While the crowds along the street formed a green edge to the parade route, not all of those were actually Irish. Rhonda Frambach, of Emmetsburg, is one of those.
"It's a Norwegian dressed up as an Irishman," she said of her colorful outfit.
Of course, on St. Patrick's Day, you don't actually have to be Irish to be Irish.
Gov. Terry Branstad, riding in the parade, made it clear that officially, this is Iowa policy.
"Today, everybody's Irish," he said.
A few vehicles behind him, Sen. Daryl Beall, D-Fort Dodge, and state Rep. Helen Miller, D-Fort Dodge, agreed.
"We're all a wee bit Irish," Miller said.
Getting to dress Irish, be Irish and celebrate Irish is not complete without eating something Irish.
Ned Munn, of Emmetsburg, was helping take care of that with a huge batch of his family recipe Irish stew being served as part of a fundraiser for the Palo Alto County Democratic Party.
"It's an old recipe from Ireland," he said.
He said it keeps getting better and better every year and that while the exact recipe is highly classified, he will reveal that it does not contain any leprechaun.
"There is some blarney and we also add a special Irish blessing," he said.
Marilyn Mugan Holmes, of Cedar Rapids, made the trip to Emmetsburg for a special reason.
"This is where all my friends are," she said.
She was enjoying the stew and relished the special blarney and blessing included in the recipe.
"I need both of them," she said.
Contact Hans Madsen at (515) 573-2141 or email@example.com