Festival draws huge crowds as Clare goes Irish

March 22, 2018

Carl of Harrison was thinking about kissing the donkey at the Crossroads Donkey Rescue event during the Irish Festival.

Carl of Harrison was thinking about kissing the donkey at the Crossroads Donkey Rescue event during the Irish Festival.

By Pat Maurer

Clare was named for County Clare in Ireland and the City really got their Irish on for the 43rd annual Clare Irish Festival this year.

Beautiful weather and huge crowds made this year’s festival one of the best ever according to people around Clare last weekend.

Irish Committee Chair Rebecca Terpening said. “It’s been a great year, just fantastic. We had the largest recipe contest audience and the largest crowd ever at the Irish parade.

The Irish Parade traveled down McEwan Saturday for well over an hour with floats, clowns and characters and four area fire departments participating along with the crowd pleasing Scottsville Clown Band. Just before the parade, the Clare Pilot’s Association zoomed over the parade route to the delight of onlookers.

Large crowds were in evidence for most of the events, which started on Wednesday evening and continued through Saturday evening and the Main Stage held performances for young and old alike with music and dancing and even an Irish Pub inside the big tent on Fourth Street.

Entertaiment by Stephanie Terpening’s Children’s Choir was new at the Irish Recipe Contest this year.

In fact music and great Irish food and drinks could be found all over the city over the weekend, along with many of the 600 posters designed by Clare Primary students to decorate store windows.

The Irish Festival Craft Show, always a great shopping experience, featured 73 booths in the halls, cafeteria and gym at the Primary School. The school also hosted the annual Kids’ Carnival Friday evening with games and fun in classrooms all over the building.

The Kiss our Irish Ass (featuring a donkey from Crossroads Donkey Rescue) was especially well attended. It was held next to the Whitehouse Restaurant, which also featured the first Hamburger Eating Contest which will be an annual event with the trophy held for a year by this year’s winner, William Baird, of Barryton.

Big prizes are awarded during every Irish Festival. Rick DeFoy was this year’s $1,000 winner of the Irish raffle. Marc Buccilli bought the 2nd place winner taking home $500 and Kristine Krebs was the $100 3rd place winner.

Two took first place in the 2nd annual Irish Stew Cookoff at Our Lady of Hope Saturday evening. The People’s Choice winners were: 1st Sharon Hartman; 2nd The Gray family; and 3rd Charlie Fachting.

Charlie also took 1st place in the Judges Choice, with Joseph VanSickle taking 2nd and Mary Roe claiming 3rd.

Clare Chamber of Commerce Director Lori Schuh said, “The Clare Irish Festival committee members worked very hard to provide entertainment for all during this year’s event.  Also, the whole community pitched in to provide their own touch to the event, to welcome our visitors, and to help celebrate our Irish heritage.

The Clare Area Chamber of Commerce was excited to be able to play a part in this year’s Clare Irish Festival.  We are very happy to be a part of such a wonderful community and sincerely appreciate everyone’s efforts – a big thank you goes out to everyone involved!”

Most comments around town heard by this reporter were “It was a great weekend!” and “It was the biggest we’ve had in a long time.”

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