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St. Patrick’s Day Celebration

St. Patrick’s Association
1001 Broadway
Emmetsburg, IA 50536
Phone: 712-852-4326
Fax: 712-852-9001

For Schedule of Activities:

With the anticipation of spring in the air, but still in the grip of winter, the residents of Emmetsburg, Iowa, strive to break the monotony of the long, cold season by reliving the customs of their Irish ancestors. Each year they commemorate the feat of Ireland’s patron, St. Patrick, and recall the life of one of their heroes, Robert Emmet, with a three-day St. Patrick’s celebration, the likes of which are unequaled in all the land!


Welcome Video
Come Celebrate with us!

The weekend in March closest to St. Patrick’s feast day, March 17th, Emmetsburg holds its annual celebration.

Activities include pretty girls of all ages vying for Irish titles, little Irish dancers, the appearance of area queens, local, state, and national politicians, and, to reign over all, a special guest from Ireland, who is a member of the Irish Parliament.

Emmetsburg’s three-day celebration begins on Friday with the arrival of our guest member of Parliament from Ireland. Friday afternoon there is a tea for our honored guests. The popular Ceili/Fun Night provides entertainment with musical or vocal selections, dance, story telling, and more with Irish flair! It is open to the public.

Saturday features a full day of activities including the “O’Round the Lock” marathon run, a Rugby Tournament, a talent program, a dance program, Irish Stew Dinner, teas, the famous St. Patrick’s Day Parade held in fair or foul weather, followed by an evening banquet and dance. Often there is a theater production at the Emmetsburg Main Street Community Theater.

Sunday is highlighted by an Irish Mass at Assumption Church with the guest dignitary and an evening banquet completes the weekend.


Irish Coin

If you are lucky enough to catch a leprechaun, he will lead you to a pot of gold, according to Irish folklore. Such luck has befallen St. Patrick’s Headquarters, when each January, thousands of golden coins will suddenly appear there. The phenomenon first occurred in 1966.

Folklore aside, in this case the coins are bronze and designed to commemorate one of Ireland’s patriots and help in the promotion of the annual celebration. Use as legal tender for a number of years should have ended its usefulness, but numismatists throughout the world continued to show interest in collecting the medals.

Each year the coin features the likeness of patriot, Robert Emmet, in various poses. The designer, C.L. Nicholson has selected Emmetsburg’s statue of Emmet for his mode.


Blarney Cannery

Along with the arrival of the Irish in the new world came their gift of eloquent speech; Blarney, a quality known mostly to the Irish. With such an abundance found in Emmetsburg, the city fathers thought it only fitting to preserve such a valuable commodity. A group of scientists and chemists were engaged to accomplish this. The Blarney Cannery went into operation in the spring of 1962 and has continued production up to the present time. In order to neutralize the potency of the blarney, another product, Repellent, is now being processed at the plant.


Parliamentarians from Sister City - Dublin, Ireland

Since 1962 when Emmetsburg and Dublin, Ireland, were officially declared “Sister Cities,” it has been a privilege and honor for the St. Patrick’s Association to host a member of the Irish Parliament to reign over the three-day celebration. Through this association, many lasting friendships have been formed.

While visiting here, the Parliamentarians from Ireland are given the opportunity to watch Iowa’s governing bodies at work and are invited to address both sessions of the Iowa State Legislature. Although some have left political life and returned to successful businesses at home, these Parliamentarians keep actively in touch with affairs of the government, both at home and abroad.



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