Milwaukee celebrates St. Patrick’s Day
The high noon event in Milwaukee always takes place the weekend before the actual weekday event, and showcases the many bands, bagpipes, dancers, and personalities associated with Irish culture in the city. This year was no different, and brisk temperatures were no deterrent for parade goers as they showcased their most festive St. Patty’s Day outfits.
The Shamrock Club of Wisconsin, the state’s oldest and largest Irish-American membership organization, hosted a Shamrock Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church and a Post-Parade Party at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center on Saturday, March 12.
The morning mass, read partially in Gaelic, was a somber preparation for the festivities coming in the parade. Wisconsin’s Irishman and Irish Rose of the Year were presented at the mass, where attendees offered flowers to the statue of St. Patrick as Irish-themed hymnals resonated throughout the Gothic cathedral. The proceedings were overseen by The Ancient Order of Hibernians, the traditional protectors of the Irish Catholic Church.
The Post-Parade Party started at 2 p.m. with the Shamrock Club’s Pipes and Drums, and people quickly filled the venue, bedecked in shades of green or traditional attire. Many of the attendees present spent the entire day with the Shamrock Club’s festivities, having been at both the mass as well as the parade.
The community was jovial to say the least, and beer drinking took place as soon as volunteers arrived to serve it. One interesting thing regarding the Irish Heritage and Community Center is the large amount of honor posted to their volunteers; the walls were filled with autographed memorabilia all dedicated to the volunteers of the community. This honor was reciprocated by the volunteers themselves, who were often local celebrities from the odd sports team or dance troupe. The line-up for entertainment included four Irish and Scottish dance troupes as well as numerous examples of traditional music played throughout the afternoon. There was also fun for children in the basement with Eileen O’Rourke, the Irish storyteller.
Photos by Nickolas Nickolic