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Preparin’ for the wearin’ o’ the green

Everybody’s Irish in Emmetsburg right now

March 10, 2013
By JOE SUTTER, , Messenger News

EMMETSBURG - On the St. Patrick's Day weekend, everything's Irish in Emmetsburg.

The town will hold its annual celebration beginning with a talent show on Thursday and hitting its peak with the big parade Saturday afternoon.

"Generally we have about 100 entries," said Dave VanOosbree, parade chairman.

Article Photos

-Messenger file photo
Marilyn Mugan, of Holmes, enjoys a cup of traditional Irish stew during the 2012 St. Patrick’s Day celebration in Emmetsburg.

While the parade will feature all kinds of entries, priority placing will be given to the best decorated floats.

"The casino has a really nice float. They update it every couple of years," he said. "There are probably three or four entries that jazz it up."

One family has also made riding in the parade a tradition.

Fact Box


1:30 p.m., Junior Miss Pageant, Emmetsburg High School Auditorium. Admission, $5


3 to 5 p.m., St. Pat's Headquarters open house. Irish coffee and cookies

8 p.m., St. Pat's Talent Show,

High School Auditorium. Admission $5.


5 7 p.m., Fish Fry, VFW Hall.

6:30 p.m., Paint, Sip, Create: Amateurs led through a step-by-step process to their own 16-by-20 canvas painting of a Celtic cross with shamrock. Reservations required. $35 includes paints and canvas. Call (712) 336-8186 for more details.

7 to 9 p.m., Annual Miss Shamrock Pageant, High School Auditorium, Admission, $5. Features performance by Iowa State Celtic Dance Society.


8:30 a.m., O'Round The Loch Scholarship Run, Smith Wellness Center. Half marathon and relay (13 miles) at 8:30 a.m., 10K at 8:40 a.m., 5K at 9 a.m., 1.7 mile Fun Run/Walk at 9:10 a.m. All races start and finish at the Smith Wellness Center.

8:30 a.m., Pedal Tractor Pull, Corrigan Hall, free. For ages 4 through 11. Trophies for first, second and third place. This is a sanctioned event.

10 to11:30 a.m., 100th Birthday Celebration of Carnegie Library, now Palo Alto County Extension. Open house, refreshments provided.

10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Kiracatures By Kira, Corrigan Hall, free.

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Face Painting, Corrigan Hall, free will donation.

10 a.m., Emmetsburg Shamrock Dog Show, Courthouse Square. For all dogs. Contact Glamorous Paws at (712) 922-9035 for information.

11:30 a.m., Laura Ernst Show, Corrigan Hall, free admission. Human-sized hamster ball, aerial act and juggling, as seen on "American's Got Talent."

11 a.m., Chain-saw artist Jeff Klatt, Courthouse Square. Two pieces of art will be auctioned off at the Fire Hall at 6 p.m.

10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., Irish stew, Multipurpose Center, free will offering.

10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m., Food Vendors, north side of Court House Square

Noon, Rugby Tournament, old Middle School football field, at Noon, 1 p.m., 2 p.m., and 3 p.m.

1 to 1:30 p.m., Pre-Parade. Parade of visiting dignitaries followed by introductions at reviewing stand.

1:30 to 3 p.m., St. Patrick's Day Parade

3 p.m., Chain-saw artist Jeff Klatt, Court House Square.

3 p.m., Social gathering of the clans and friends of Emmetsburg, Emmetsburg Fire Station (east of Courthouse). Food and beverages available.

3:30 p.m., Comedy juggler Alan Johnson, Corrigan Hall, free.

4:30 p.m., Movie; "Brave," Riviera Theatre, free.


8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Rotary Pancake Breakfast, VFW

Noon to 3 p.m., Trap Shoot, Sportsman Park. Contact Don Bruch, (712) 852-3240 or (712) 298-3240, Roger Will, (712) 852-2775, for more information.

"My dad builds a different float each year," said Billie Jo Hoffman, board secretary for the St. Patrick's Association.

Her father, Joe Joyce, said the Joyce family entry this year will be a 1926 Model T truck he restored. The kids will ride in the truck bed.

Joyce has been entering floats since the '80s, he said. Last year the float was a playhouse for his granddaughter. One year, he built a float called "Finnigan's Wake" that featured a coffin.

Why keep it up?

"I'm a full-blooded Irishman," he said.

"I guess for us it's been a way to connect to the community and give back to the community," Hoffman said. "My kids have so much fun. I have a second-grader and he says 'We've got to be in the parade so I can wear my kilt again.'"

The parade will pay homage to celebrations of years past, with the return of the Irish Stepperettes.

"They were a drill team that kind of took off from our Irish roots. They were like 30 girls," VanOosbree said. "They had cowboy boots and skirts and stuff."

The group was together from about 1970 to 1982, he said. This year, they'll be riding on a float.

The pedal tractor pull will be Saturday morning. That was a big hit last year, said Hoffman.

"And it is a sanctioned event, so if they get first or second at the pedal tractor pull here, they're eligible to go to state pedal tractor pull," she said.

Other highlights from this year include performers Allen Johnson and Laura Ernst. Ernst was featured on "America's Got Talent."

"She has an aerial act," Hoffman said. "She'll use fabric and be swinging around in the air."

She'll also appear in the parade, rolling down the street in a giant hamster ball, Hoffman said.

Johnson is a comedy juggler, and has appeared on "ER" and "Night Court."

"He's doing a comedy juggling unicycle act," she said.

Another new thing is the "Paint, Sip, Create" exhibition Friday evening. For a fee, participants will be provided with art supplies and canvas and taught to paint a Celtic cross and shamrock - no artistic experience necessary.

One of the guests of honor for the weekend will be Marcella Corcoran-Kennedy of the Irish parliament.

After visiting the State Capitol earlier in the week, Corcoran-Kennedy will attend the Irish coffee open house Thursday, the Miss Shamrock Pageant on Friday and the parade on Saturday.

Emmetsburg has been bringing dignitaries in from Ireland since 1967, said St. Pat's Chairman Andy Joyce.

"From one year to the next we rely on those who were here previously to recommend and help us find a new dignitary to bring over," he said. "The year prior we ask them to help go through the Irish Parliament and find a colleague that would have availability during that time frame.

"Fortunately they've continued to come, so we must host them well."



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