Large crowd braves cold for St. Paddy's Day fun


By Cynthia Price

Ever since the Greater Muskegon Jaycees started holding a parade eight years ago on a Saturday close to St. Patrick’s Day, crowds have braved whatever weather March throws at them to come out in support. Last Saturday’s cold was no exception.

At times it has been unseasonably warm; other years it has rained. But increasing numbers come out and line the streets of downtown Muskegon each year to honor St. Paddy and have some fun.

(A note: It is indeed St. Paddy and not St. Patty – the name of the main Patron Saint of Ireland is actually Pádraig. St. Pat’s Day is also appropriate.)

People come whether they are Irish or not – although admittedly most of the kids come for all the candy that gets tossed and handed and shot from air guns.

This aligns well with the fact that, though Patrick is a saint in the regular Roman Catholic tradition (and was originally from Rome before he was kidnapped at the age of 16 and brought to Ireland as a slave), a variety of churches consider him to be the religious leader of Ireland, including Lutheran.

A variety of downtown establishments joined in the fun, most often with liquid accompaniment.  Hennessy’s Pub carried on for both the Saturday and the real
St. Paddy’s Day, March 17, with such bands as Uneven Ground, The Barley Saints and The Conklin Ceili Band.

Unruly Brewing started off  Friday with the Leprecons and on Saturday invited in the Muskegon Police Pipes and Drums, the Mona Shores Fiddlers, and  the Ardan Academy of Dance, in addition to a costume contest. They ended with The Barley Saints as well.

There was also the Shamrock Shuffle 5K run, a “lucky” hike out at Gillette Nature Center, and Green Eggs and Ham breakfast at the Greater Muskegon Women’s Club, though the only common denominator there was “green.”