Clare County Review & Marion Press News

Irish Festival turns Clare ‘green’

Pushers for 2023 Irish Festival Bed Race Winners Jim’s Body Shop / Sound Productions Racing kick into warp speed as they they pull away from the competition   
Overall 5K Winner #1311 Abe Ranck kicks into high gear as he heads for victory posting a time of 00:17:22 .  Andrew Klaus #1202 seen in the background finished second with a time of 00:17:26 
Dealing with a brutally cold westerly wind and temperatures in the upper teens, runners in the annual Clare Irish Festival 10K and 5K races gave it their all. Here (r-l) runners Katelynn Tilmann #1408, Andrew Klaus #1202, Sophia Buzzelli #1046, Sutton Klaus #1203, and Connor Schmidt #1337 lead the pack at the start of the 5K race
A tiny Leprechaun seems to be looking for something … gold maybe?
A wee bit of cold weather didn’t keep parade participants down . They proudly wore the green and marched the full route like they would on a hot summer day. 
A large turnout of Girl Scouts took part in this year’s parade.
Tommie Bauer Racing of Farwell, MI winners of the closest Soo I-500 in race history proudly displayed their winning trophy, Polaris and Checkered flag in this year’s parade. Their incredible crew rode up front in a truck waving to fans. In addition to winning the Soo, the team won the enduro racing championship. Pictured Chad Bauer, Team owner Mike Otto, drivers Joey Burch, Cody Bauer and Tyler Nickels,  Not
pictured fellow driver Nick Wickerham 
Parade and race photos by Steve Landon
McNerney Family Resort scorch the pavement as they charge down the strip
Overall 5K Women’s Winner Sophia Buzzelli #1046 soars across the finish line to victory posting a time of 00:19:13
Grand Marshal Ken Hibl, and daughter in-law Melanie Johnson-Butts didn’t let wind and cold temperatures keep them from leading this years parade  
A gray-haired Granny Leprechaun (Morgan) handles her walker pretty well while waiting to be judged in the Leprechaun Costume Contest at Witbecks.
Winners in the annual Leprechaun Costume Contest at Witbeck’s Saturday morning were (from left) 15 to Adult – Sven Drumheller of Mt. Pleasant; 11-14 Allison Burhans; 7-10 Isaiah Wakefield of Clare; 3-6 Morgan Pratt; 0-2 Lelia Barny.
A brisk wind made for a beautiful sight as area veterans led the parade with Old Glory flying high.  
Loads of crafts and gift items were on display in the Primary School Cafeteria.
Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts from Troops 620 andPack 3620, were serving “Green” pancakes early Saturday morning in the Methodist Church basement. Shown here at the annual event are (from Troop 620) Connor McNally, Cub Master Renee’ Boakes and Logan Boakes.
Irish Recipe Contest winners Jason Badelt and Bo Weissend (shown with Paul).
Photos courtesy of Clare Chamber
Leprechaun Contest Judges have all been Irish Festival Grant Marshals. Ken Hibl is this year’s Grand Marshal; Jane Sarter Keys was Grand Marshall in 2004; Carol Santini was the 2014 Grand Marshal and Judy Brankel was Grand Marshal in 2016. Not pictured is Carron Nevill, who was the 2013 Grand Marshal.

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.

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