New Ulm Irish to march as usual on St. Patrick’s Day

NEW ULM — The 55th anniversary march of the Irish in New Ulm will take place on Tuesday, March 17, at 5 p.m., continuing its string as the longest continuous St. Patrick’s Day celebration in the state.

The parade will begin at 3rd South and Minnesota Streets, and proceed the wrong way up Minnesota to 4th North Street.

This year, the Grand Marshal of the parade is a very deserving young man who has both German and Bohemian ancestry. This has never stopped him from attending most of the Gatherings of the Clans over the years, so in the spirit of inclusion, Warta is being named the Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for 2020. Sarah Gillis will be the Irish Queen. All past Irish queens are invited to participate as well.

After the parade disbands, the Irish in New Ulm will celebrate at Don’s Pub (known most of the year as the Kaiserhoff Restaurant), where the O’Concord Singers will entertain.

(Editor’s note: The article to this point contains factual information. We cannot vouch for the veracity of any information beyond this point.)

While the St. Paul and Minneapolis St. Patrick’s Day Parades have been canceled due to coronavirus concerns, organizers of the New Ulm parade feel the parade can safely be held with a few precautions.

The committee had considered having a stay-at-home parade, where the Irish citizens of New Ulm would stay home, dress up in green, and march in place in their living rooms for 15 minutes. But that was deemed silly.

There was also discussion of holding the parade, but banning spectators. This distressed the New Ulm Retail Association, which begged organizers to allow the spectators, seeing as how the thousands of parade watchers who crowd into New Ulm each year are the economic life blood of the retail community.

So the Irish committee set some new rules for the event. Instead of “Kiss Me, I’m Irish,” the parade theme will be “Wave To Me, I’m Irish.” Marchers in the parade will be expected to stay at least six feet away from each other, which is usually the case as the parade moves up Minnesota Street and stretches out.

Parade organizers Tom Donnelly and Pat Kearney also want to point out that the Irish Department of Health recommends both Guinness Stout and Jameson Irish Whiskey as excellent health tonics for fortifying one’s immune system against COVID-19 and any other virus that might be floating around.

“The Guinness motto for years has been ‘Guinness Gives You Strength,'” said Donnelly.

“And in a pinch, Jameson Irish Whiskey makes a very good hand sanitizer,” Kearney added.

There is an old Irish story touting the health benefits of Irish Whiskey. The parish priest was trying to get Paddy to take the Pledge and give up drinking.

“Paddy, you know that if you put a worm in a glass of water, it thrives,” the priest said. “But if you put a worm in a glass of Irish Whiskey, it dies! What does this tell you?”

Paddy answered, “It tells me that if I drink Irish Whiskey, I’ll never get worms.”

The organizers encourage marchers and spectators alike to medicate themselves responsibly.

There have been some big developments in New Ulm over the past year, and the Irish would like to mention a few:

• The Irish persuaded MnDOT officials have the new roundabout intersections at Highway 14 and 15 be shaped like a four-leaf clover. The Germans in town are having so much fun driving around and around MnDOT decided to put in three of them. If people are expecting someone and they are late, chances are they are at the intersection driving around.

• Highway 14 funding is on its way! Mayor Bob Beussman, inspired to a stroke of genius by his Irish wife Chery, talked to Gov. Tim Walz and instead of offering to hold a potluck and bake sale to support the construction, he raised the stakes and promised a daily meal of corned beef and cabbage, a big slice of Irish soda bread and a pint of Guinness for everyone who would be working on the project. See how quickly the governor found a solution?

Unfortunately, this exempted the mayor from the Double Done-Nothing Award, which he had won every year since taking office..

The Irish will be offering a slew of athletic events and challenges for those who miss their NBA, NHL, MLB, PGA, March Madness and World Series of Poker events that have been cancelled due to the coronavirus.

The Rope Pushing Contest will be held in German Park, with several hundred contestants expected. (In deference to the virus, only groups of ten at a time will be allowed).

The Bowling Ball Juggling contest will also take place in German Park. Hard hats are recommended.

For those interested in Irish-German lore, Don Brand will spend the afternoon at the German Park Bandstand telling anyone who cares to listen how he single handedly saved the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and will be signing autographs in green ink.

This year, to point out the need for the German Park Amphitheater project, the Hermann the German Roll Out the Barrel Barrel Roll will be held at German Park instead of Center Street by the Hermann Monument. The mayor will be inserted into a barrel and rolled down the Amphitheater slope, which has eroded away into a steep hillside.

With all the snow this year, it has been a major test for the dear departed weather committee of Bill O’Connor and Pat Kneefe. If there is beautiful weather for the parade, the Irish will have Kneefe to thank. If it snows, they know O’Connor is responsible, because he has been snowing New Ulm with this article for years.

Remember, jig, don’t jog on St. Patrick’s Day.


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