By Pat Maurer
Snowy weather didn’t stop the thousands who came to Clare last weekend from enjoying the 48th Annual Clare Irish Festival. Always set around St. Patrick’s Day, the weather is more often than not, snowy and cold.
Despite the wintery blast and cold temperatures, events were well attended as were Clare businesses, restaurants and “pubs” during the Irish festivities. Mother Nature got her snow flurries (and white outs) out of the way on Friday and Saturday tuned out fairly clear…but cold for all the races and the annual Irish Parade.
That didn’t stop the attendees from having fun!
The 2023 Clare Irish Festival Road Races took place on Saturday, March 18, 2023 and included a 5K Run, 10K Run, 2 Mile Walk, and Free 1/2 Mile Kids Fun Run. Race sponsors included Northern Dry Bulk, Clare Hometown Chiropractic, Clare Family Fitness, Subway of Clare, Jay’s Sporting Goods, Blackburn RV & Trailer Services, Mercantile Bank, J.T. Bakers, MyMichigan Health, Witbeck’s Family Foods, and Members First Credit Union.
Kyle McKown and Adam Burhans were the Road Race Directors. In a Facebook post, McKown thanked, “Our workers, the Clare Police Department and the Clare DPW.”
Parade winners this year were: First place: Hempire; Best Community Involvement: Northern Gateway Taekwondo; Most Fun: Rite Hite; and Best Irish Theme: Central Express.
Seven teams completed in two heats in the Bed Races this year. There were two heats with a total of 7 teams!
Guest judges were from Tommie Bauer Racing of Farwell – winners of the 2013 Soo I-500 Snowmobile Race in Sault Ste. Marie, in February.
The Overall winner, and winner of the first heat was Jim’s Body Shop with a time of 20.49. Wood’s Household’s team had the second fastest overall time with 22.01. Rite Hite was the second heat winner taking second with a time of 22.6.
The Clare County Chamber of Commerce presented plaques to the “fastest” Jim’s Body Shop; the “best Irish theme – McNerney Family Resort; and the “most fun team – Medilodge.
The Irish Recipe Contest winners were: Best and most authentic Irish entrée – Jason Badelt with his Irish Coddle Business; and Best and most authentic Irish Dessert – Bo Weissend (shown with Paul) with her Sauerkraut Cake Bites.
The entries were judged by Irish Festival Grand Marshal Ken Hibl and Deb and Patrick Sloan. The Contest was sponsored by TKOE and the Whitehouse Restaurant.
By Pat Maurer