St. Patrick’s Day Irish Festival a celebration come snow or shine

By Sally Neel
Special to The PREVIEW
There is no way to predict what Mother Nature will or will not bring to Pagosa Springs when it pertains to snow or sunshine. But when it comes to St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church’s Irish Festival, the festivities and parade will go on.
The World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be a featured moment (and “moment” is an appropriate term here) at this weekend’s Irish Festival. The parade will begin at the north end of the parking lot and will conclude at the south end of the parking lot. Don’t blink or you will miss it.
The festivities begin at 11 a.m. on the St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church parking lot behind the church, located at 225 S. Pagosa Blvd. Parking will be available at the hospital next door.
The parade will commence at 11:30 a.m. and will feature bagpipers, a float carrying St. Patrick himself, along with a team of lively leprechauns, a fire truck, a few vintage cars and a trash truck. Others who wish to participate in the parade are asked to arrive at 10:45 a.m.
The parking lot will be lined with a variety of vendors and nonprofit groups, along with a face painter. A fly-casting coach will teach you how to cast a fly line and members of the St. Patrick’s fly-tying group will be indoors teaching fly-tying skills.
In the church, NightSong Trio — with Jessica Peterson on flute, Heidi Tanner on violin and Sally Neel at the piano — will play some of your favorite jigs and Irish tunes. In the parish hall, there will be free food available, along with Irish libations offered at a modest price. Donations will be accepted to benefit St. Patrick’s Food Box Ministry.
“We have researched and found another World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Hot Springs, Arkansas,” said Fr. Doug Neel, rector of St. Patrick’s. “Their official parade route is only 98 feet long, but they have to travel other streets to get to their parade destination, so, technically, I would think that is part of the parade. We literally start at one end of the parking lot and end at the other. Perhaps it is all a matter of semantics, but I will hold to our claim of having the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade. And, I daresay, they cannot boast having St. Patrick himself in their parade!”
“This is all good fun,” said event organizer Jim Dorian. “We want to provide a fun place to celebrate our favorite saint. If the weather doesn’t cooperate, we will compensate for that the best we can. But we hope lots of people will come out and enjoy this year’s Irish Festival.”
The St. Patrick’s Irish Festival will take place — rain, snow or shine — this Saturday, St. Patrick’s Day, beginning at 11 a.m. Come and join in the fun and don’t forget to wear your most festive green Irish attire. (We cannot be held responsible for any playful pinching that might take place if you forget.)

This story was posted on March 15, 2018.