Spirit of St. Patrick’s Day shines in Wee Parade

The local Elks Lodge hosted the annual Wee Parade in Manistee on Saturday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

The local Elks Lodge hosted the annual Wee Parade in Manistee on Saturday. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

MANISTEE — Manistee is a world away from Ireland, but it was hard to tell on Saturday as the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day shined.

Shades of green were everywhere and beer of the same color was flowing.

Events for all ages in the area were available to enjoy throughout the day, which were culminated with Manistee’s annual Wee Parade.

The event held true to its quaint and quirky tradition, routeing its spirited participants down a short stretch of River Street, from Maple Street to the home of parade hosts, the Elks Lodge No. 250 of Manistee.

The annual Wee Parade was met with sun and smiling faces on Saturday in Manistee. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

The annual Wee Parade was met with sun and smiling faces on Saturday in Manistee. (Dylan Savela/News Advocate)

“It’s a small parade, but people come out and have a good, fun time,” said Jim Smith, the City of Manistee’s mayor and Exalted Ruler of the Elks. “Anybody can be in it — be a part of it — and it’s for everybody to come down and enjoy it too.”

Perhaps from a stroke of luck of the Irish, Saturday’s Wee Parade was met with near perfect conditions, considering the time of year.

“I can’t thank the good Lord enough for the weather we had for it today,” Smith said. “The sun was shining, it wasn’t too chilly, and it just feels like we’re heading into the spring season.”

In years past, the parade was hosted by the Eagles Club. In the wake of the closure of its Manistee chapter, however, the local Elks organization stepped in to take over. This year’s event marked their second year as hosts.

“The idea was to pick up the tradition and carry things on,” Smith said. “You get more of a feel for it each year you run it, and we hope to continue to do it.”

After the parade, attendees were invited in to the Elks Lodge at 432 River St. to enjoy drinks and a meal. For some, it was the first stop of many throughout the night, as plenty of local establishments were celebrating the holiday.

“Afterward we wanted to invite everyone to the Elks to enjoy a good meal, some green beer if they want, and we have good food for kids too,” Smith said. “We want to serve a variety of folks and, looking around, I see a mix of (Elks) members, friend and even some new faces. It’s a nice way to get together.”

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Posted by Dylan Savela

Dylan is the county reporter for the News Advocate, he also is in charge of the Small Town Life, religion and senior pages. He can be reached at (231) 398-3111 or dsavela@pioneergroup.com.

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