Chicago’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is over, but you can keep the celebration going by heading to Emmetsburg, Iowa. The Dublin sister-city has green-themed festivities ongoing through the weekend.
Emmetsburg has long, green roots: The town was was originally settled by immigrants during the potato famine and named for the Dublin-born Irish nationalist Robert Emmet, who was executed at 25 for leading an 1803 rebellion against the British. On a cheerier note, this year the town’s 50-year-old St. Patrick’s Association is celebrating its half-century mark all week. On Thursday, March 17th, there’s a Ceili, an Irish version of a talent show with ethnic song, dance, and musical performances. Friday-night festivities include the Annual Miss Shamrock Pageant and a traditional Irish cooking contest.
On Saturday, March 19th, events start with the Round the Loch Run, a half-marathon that raises money for local scholarships. The highlight of the day will be the Annual Famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade (yes, “Famous” is an official part of the parade’s name), sponsored by the St. Pat’s Association and featuring all manner of floats, Irish pipe bands, marching bands, and step dancers.
Following the Famous Parade, everyone is invited to the Robert Emmet reception, where there will be good drink and commemorative coins stamped with the late patriot’s likeness. At 3:30 p.m., the Emmetsburg fire station (at the east end of the courthouse) puts out a spread of food and drink, brings in a troupe of Irish minstrels and opens up a “social gathering of the clans and friends of Emmetsburg.” (You don’t have to be in an Irish clan to attend.) The parties wind up Sunday, March 20th, with a pancake breakfast and a trap-shooting contest.What to Go This Weekend: Emmetsburg, Iowa
Where to stay: Lodging is fairly limited in Emmetsburg. The Wild Rose Resort and Casino (777 Main St.; 877-720-7673, wildroseresorts.com) has rooms starting at an eminently reasonable $59 a night.Lodging is fairly limited in Emmetsburg. The Wild Rose Resort and Casino (777 Main St.; 877-720-7673, wildroseresorts.com) has rooms starting at an eminently reasonable $59 a night.
Where to eat: Saturday is stew-day. You can indulge in some traditional Irish stew (free-will offering) if you stop by the Emmetsburg Multipurpose Center between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.; additional food vendors will be clustered at the north side of downtown’s Courthouse Square throughout the weekend. Dunigan’s Irish Pub (inside the Wild Rose Resort at 777 Main St.; 877-720-7673) offers pub food, beer and—in the casino steps away from the restaurant—the chance to see if you possess any of the famed luck of the Irish.
GO Emmetsburg, Iowa. Welcome Center (1121 Broadway; 712-852-2283, emmetsburg.com. For information about St. Patrick’s Association and a full schedule of events, call 712- 852-4326 or visit emmetsburgirishgifts.com.