Manistee to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

The annual Wee Parade is set for 5 p.m. on Friday, but will be hosted by the Manistee B.P.O. Elks Lodge No. 250 this year and travel west on River Street, starting near Maple Street, toward the fountain. (File photo)

The annual Wee Parade is set for 5 p.m. on Friday, but will be hosted by the Manistee B.P.O. Elks Lodge No. 250 this year and travel west on River Street, starting near Maple Street, toward the fountain. (File photo)

MANISTEE — After several years of being hosted by the Manistee Eagles Club, the Wee Parade will see some changes this year.

The city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration will be presented by the Manistee B.P.O. Elks Lodge No. 250 at 5 p.m. on Friday.

“They approached us when they closed earlier this year to see if we would be interested in continuing on with the tradition of hosting it,” said Amy Loftus, of the Elks. “We jumped on the bandwagon.”

The parade also will take a different route than it has in years past.

“It was designed to end up at the Eagles, so our goal is now to end at the Elks,” said Loftus.

The staging area will be in the parking lot near the corner of Maple and River streets. The parade will begin there and continue west down River Street to the fountain.

“We’re inviting any and all participants to come back and eat and drink at the Elks,” said Loftus. “The public is welcome. Our goal is not necessarily to be the all night party, but maybe the pre-party for some of the other vendors down on River Street that are having events.”

The route of the Wee Parade previously traversed Division Street, however, this year it will travel west on River Street starting near the corner of Maple Street. (File photo)

The route of the Wee Parade previously traversed Division Street, however, this year it will travel west on River Street starting near the corner of Maple Street. (File photo)

Prizes for 12 and under, best group of six and more, best dressed and most festive will be awarded at 6 p.m., and there will be music from 6-9 p.m.

The deadline for parade entries is Wednesday, however, anyone who wants to walk in the parade still can show up the day of the event.

“We’re encouraging people that are doing floats or driving a vehicle to be more forthcoming that they’re going to be involved so that we know how much room we’re going to need,” Loftus said.

She said the Wee Parade is an event the Elks will continue to sponsor.

“Our planning committee met last night and we’ve got some exciting things that we’re already starting to put into place for next year,” she said. “It’s a great event to get the families and kids downtown and get them outside. It’s a fun family event to enjoy with the young kids and have that sense of community.

To submit an entry, drop a form off at the Elk’s Lodge after 4 p.m. or fax to (231) 464-5920. Forms are available at Manistee Elks Lodge No. 250, Boyer Agency, Ramsdell Inn/TJ’s Pub or MS Creative.

The tradition of the parade was started by the late Bruce Six who was the owner of the First Street Tavern. For many years the parade was an annual fixture on First Street, then for several years it found a home on Division Street with the Manistee Eagles Club.

For more information, call the Elks Lodge No. 250 after 4 p.m. at (231) 723-2060.

The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts will begin celebrations of St. Patrick’s Day one day early on Thursday when it presents Irish Night.

Beginning at 5:30 p.m., Irish food, prepared by chef Al Frye, and beer will be for sale in the decorated ballroom (also during intermission); two Irish bands will perform beginning at 7:30 p.m. in the theater.

“It’s going to be a really fun night of celebration,” said Xavier Verna, executive director, Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts. “We’ll have food and drink. They can bring family and they can bring friends. It’s a family show. It’s going to be two sets of live performances with an intermission.”

Teada, featuring traditional Irish music, has headlined at music festivals throughout the world. Gaelic for “strings,” Teada consists of five members: Oisin MacDiarmada on fiddle and button-accordion players; Paul Finn and Damien Stenson on flutes and whistles; Sean McElwin playing both bouzouki and guitar; and Tristan Rosenstock, the bodhran player.

The Outside Track features four band members. Mairi Rankin, playing fiddle, singing and step dancing; Teresa Horgan sings with an emotive style; Ailie Robertson, of Scotland, plays clarsach; Fiona Black plays the piano accordion culminating in a distinct rhythm and vibrancy.

“(There will be) lots of color. Bring your green outfits, and get festive,” said Verna.

Tickets are available at mynorthtickets.com.

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Posted by Michelle Graves

Michelle is the managing editor of the Manistee News Advocate. You can reach her at (231) 398-3106 or mgraves@pioneergroup.com.

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