By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW
This Saturday, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church will celebrate its patron saint with its annual Irish Festival, scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. in the church parking lot.
The public is invited to come and join the fun of watching the World’s Shortest Parade (across the church parking lot), exploring and purchasing some great items from local vendors, listening to toe-tapping live music by NightSong Trio, free burgers and hotdogs, fly-tying and casting demonstrations, and more. Beer and Irish coffee will also be for sale to toast the day.
“This is always one of the most fun days of the year,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “It’s a chance to invite the community and out-of-town guests to come and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with us, get silly, and cheer our incredibly short parade.”
“This is not a fundraising event,” he went on. “Any proceeds from this event will be donated to our food box ministry or to other outreach projects.”
NightSong Trio, with Jessica Peterson on flute, Heidi Tanner on violin and Sally Neel at the piano, will perform two sets of Irish jigs and songs inside the church building. The first set begins at 11:15 a.m. and the next one will be at 1 p.m.
As is the tradition, Doug Neel will represent St. Patrick in the main float. All children are welcome to ride on the float with him. Also included in the parade are a fire truck, antique cars, lots of leprechauns and sundry costumed merry-makers.
“You are encouraged to wear your most outlandish Irish attire,” said Doug Neel. “The crazier the better. And feel free to march in the parade.”
Those wishing to participate in the parade should line up at 11:45 a.m. on the north side of the parish hall. The parade begins at noon.
The men of St. Patrick’s are preparing free burgers and hotdogs. Donations are appreciated, but not required. Free nonalcoholic drinks will be available, and beer and Irish coffee will be for sale.
The festival will take place rain or shine. Pets are welcome, but they must be on a leash and owners are responsible for waste cleanup.
St. Patrick’s is located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Parking will be available at the hospital located next door to the church. Bring the family and come and join the fun.