Jane Mulcahey, left, and Mike Mulcahey were crowned the 2023 Mr. and Mrs. Emerald Isle this year, and attended many of the festivities, including the opening mass and parade of clans. (Ethan Becker/southernminn.com)
Snow and hail couldn’t stop one of Waseca’s longest running traditions from taking place over the weekend. On Saturday, The Mill in Waseca held the 55th annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, with loads of activities taking place over the 12-hour span.
The day began with service at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, before a parade of clans brought families from all over the region to The Mill, packing the event center. Once there, attendees were treated to green beer, a mulligan stew and music by The Ditch Creek Dixies with Muriah Miller Keith.
Shortly after noon, once many of the families had found a table, Ben Burns helped to auction off a VIP table sitting in the front row at center stage. The table was won by the family of Reggie, Lance and Julie Miller. Also sitting in the front row were the Queen Pageant contestants – Emma Keith, Lauren White and Caitlin Slattery – the grand marshal of the parade, Edna Burns, and the 2023 Mr. and Mrs. Emerald Isle, Mike and Jane Mulcahey.
A talent show took place throughout the afternoon, with many of the kids getting up and showing off their various talents, before an Irish auction and Irish Bingo that started at 2 p.m.
The evening saw the crowning of the Queen contestants, with White winning Miss Shamrock, Slattery winning Miss Irish Rose and Keith winning Miss St. Patrick. Following the crowning of the queens, Buffalo Alice took to the stage for a show that went until midnight.
For the organizers of this year’s festivities, Joe and Abbe Hoehn, along with Muriah, the event is more than just fun times in early March.
“As kids, this was something that we always looked forward to taking over one day,” Abbe said. “It’s a family thing, and you know you’re going to see everyone on this day. If you live far away from anyone, you know that they’ll be here on this day, and you can see them and talk.”
Joe agreed, adding that having something like the Irish American Club of Southern Minnesota, the organization that helps put on the event, is so important.
“With any organization, [the club] promotes good fellowship and supports learning about your heritage,” Joe said. “Without something like this, those traditions and that heritage just fade out over time.”
Ethan Becker is a reporter for the Waseca County News. Reach him at (507) 333-3133. Find him on Twitter @Ethan_BeckerWCN or @WasecaNews.