Shamrocks, leprechauns, parade floats, and a whole lot of green are in store when the Rushville St. Patrick’s Committee kicks off their annual celebration. John McCane, Brian Sheehan and Dan Shanahan will once again host a weekend of Irish recognition and celebration. This week Rushville Mayor Mike Pavey signed a Proclamation recognizing the local Irish efforts to bring a better understanding of the Irish heritage for our Rush County resident of Irish decent. The local celebration will begin with a parade at 3 pm on March 9th.
This year’s St. Patrick’s Party will mark the fifteenth year that the three local Irishmen have put on a charity event for the Rush County community. In the past, the St. Patrick’s Committee has raised funds for the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, Varsity Scholars, St. Mary Catholic Church Heat Fund, Habitat for Humanity, the Sheehan Cancer Care Center at Rush Memorial Hospital, the Riverside Park Amphitheater, The Rush County Community Foundation, and Changing Footprints. Proceeds for this year’s event will be dedicated to the Heart of Rushville, the City of Rushville Concert Series and the Rush County Veteran’s Flag Fund, and the 4-H Cloverbuds.
The Irish tradition began here in Rush County fifteen years ago when the Shanahan family met on St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate their Irish ancestry. Dan Shanahan invited some of the Sheehan’s and McCane’s to join in with their family as they sang Irish songs and shared family stories. From that event, the three decided that they could bring a better understanding of the Irish culture to Rush County, and could also help raise money for local charities. And that’s what they have been doing since then. To accommodate out-of-town family and friends, the committee chose to host their celebration on the Saturday prior to St. Patrick’s Day. This year’s event will take place on March 9th.
The event builds each year. In 2001, the group took over North Perkins Street in a makeshift parade, carrying a huge flag of Ireland down to the Knights of Columbus Hall. The next year, the parade was sanctioned by the city, changed their route to Main Street, and even had the Indianapolis Fire Department Bagpipe and Drum Corps marching along. Even in the rain, last year’s parade had its largest participation.
This year they hope to be bigger and better, with the return of the Southern Indiana Bagpipe and Drum Corps. The parade route is from Sixth and Main Streets to the Rushville K of C. The Parade will begin at 3 pm, with line-up starting at 2:15 pm in the Main Street Christian Church parking lot. There is an open invitation to everyone who wants to watch the parade, or participate by walking, riding, carrying flags, pulling wagons, or playing Irish music. This year’s Grand Marshall will be Markus Strobl.
The Committee is extremely excited about the 1st Ever St. Patrick’s Dash being hosted by the Rush County Boys and Girls Club. The “Dash” is a 1 Mile Walk/Run that starts and ends in the Boys and Girls Club parking lot. There is a $10 Entry for all ages. Prize for best kilt, first 150 to register get a St. Patrick’s Day wristband. Proceeds benefit the Boys and Girls Club. Contact Andrea Niedenthal (561-8801) or Dana Fussner (765-570-3172) for more information.
Due to the growth in popularity, the K of C has expanded their facilities by adding a tent to the west side of their club to help provide space for the party-goers. This will allow participants to spread out, and even throw a game of corn hole if they so choose. “It’s a nice problem to have,” said Brian Sheehan. “The crowds continue to grow, and the community support is so overwhelming that we have looked for other ways to accommodate our guests, and even provide some new activities at the same time.”
Of course, a St. Patrick’s Party wouldn’t be complete without music and dancing. The Committee is excited to announce the addition of Irish singer and songwriter Eunan McIntyre to the list of entertainers. McIntyre comes from Donegal, Ireland. According to the Committee, he composes beautiful songs, direct from the heart. He remembers his childhood, his parents. His music illustrates his love of family and nature.
Kevin Mandrell, owner of the 201 Building, Campbell Brothers, and Pizza King. Gettinger Custom Meats are helping to host the bagpipers. The Rush County Commissioners have once again agreed to put green lights in the courthouse clocks for the Irish celebration. McGowan Designs and Harcourt Outlines have stepped in to the aid of the Irishmen, printing tickets and signs. Indianapolis Distributor, Monarch Beverage, has have continued their relationship with the Committee by supplying a donation of their products, and prizes for the event. Greenfield Beverage has also been a long-term supporter of the local Irish events.
The organizers encourage people to come out and have fun, but to also celebrate safely. Pavey’s Grocery will sponsor the “Paddy Wagon,” a limousine/bus service to ensure that everyone has a safe ride home at the end of the night. With proper notice, the service will also pick people up at their homes and take them to the party.
“We want people to help us celebrate our Irish heritage and the community,” said John McCane. “The important thing for everyone to remember is that they need to be safe, and I hope they take advantage of Pavey Grocery’s generosity in providing safe transportation to and from the party.” Anyone interested in a ride to the party should call 561-3680.
The St. Patrick’s Celebration will be held at the K of C and tickets are limited. Tickets sell for only ten dollars, and since they are limited, people are encouraged to call one of the organizers or visit the K of C to secure their ticket. The Celebration will begin at 6 pm and will last into the night. The Committee insists that this year will “be the biggest and the best celebration we’ve hosted.”
McCane also mentioned that individuals and business have been donating prizes for the “Great Irish Raffle”. Top prizes donated so far include a trip for a free resort cabin for three days near the Smokey Mountains from Jeff and Tammy O’Mara. An original Irish-themed stained glass valued at $1000 from local glasermeister Markus Strobl will also be given away. A week’s stay in Ireland has also been donated for the raffle.
Anyone wishing to participate may call organizers, Brian Sheehan (561-5193), John McCane (932-3905) or Dan Shanahan (938-1559). Anyone not able to make the event, but wishing to make a donation should contact any of the organizers, and they will make arrangements to collect your donation. Those interested can also catch up on the events by going to “The Rushville St. Patrick’s Day Party” Facebook page.