By Pat Maurer
The 48th Clare Irish Festival is in full swing this week.
The festival officially began Wednesday afternoon with the Irish Pet Photo Contest deadline. Winners will be announced on the Parks and Recreation website or at the Clare Chamber website.
Special festival events included the Virtual Kathy Rynearson Memorial Food Drive from the 15th through the 18th celebrating a very special lady’s community legacy.
The Best Dressed Leprechaun Contest, Irish Recipe Contest, Kids Fun Run, and the annual Irish Fest Craft Show are always annual highlights. And, back this year will be a Food Truck Convoy downtown, a Blarney Stone on McEwan, warm-up fire pits, and new this year is the “Are you Irish Contest.”
The actual four-day Irish Festival started Wednesday with entertainment, food and drink specials, shopping deals and much more, the Clare Chamber of Commerce posted.
Wednesday evening everyone gathered at the Doherty Hotel for Business after Hours sponsored by Mercantile Bank, followed by the Big Brothers -Big Sisters’ Live & Silent Auction in the Doherty Ballroom.
Thursday evening, the Irish Recipe Contest judged the best of Irish cuisine. Held in the Clare High School Cafeteria, where the tastiest and most Irish dishes were judged – and sampled by all.
Just across the Clare High School Commons, the Recipe contest was followed by the annual Gateway Community Band Concert in the gymnasium.
Some other great events celebrating St. Patrick’s Day have already begun and will continue even after the 2023 festival winds up.
Thursday, March 16 was the first day of the Lucky Leprechaun Story Walk along the Pere’ Marquette Rail-Trail, but there’s still time. The event continues through April 3rd and is a community partnership between the PMDL and Clare Parks and Recreation. To participate check in at the Library and get your clipboard and participation sheet. Then be sure to read all the pages on each post along the way. The event begins and ends at the library where you turn in your clipboard at the front desk and collect your goodie bag. You will be entered into a raffle for prizes. Complete the walk and post a selfie on the trail for an additional entry. If you can find the leprechaun door in the library will also get a small prize. Then the fun really gets going with the 38th annual Irish Festival Best Frame