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Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Plenty o' St. Patrick's Day activities planned for Manchester

By KATIE McQUAID
March 02. 2018 9:25PM

Elm Street was lined with parade goers enjoying the Irish atmosphere in the Queen City during the annual Saint Patrick's Day Parade in 2014. (Bruce Taylor/Union Leader file photo)



Who is the first Irishman to come out in spring? Patty O’Furniture, of course.

That’s one of my dad’s favorite jokes.

The first day of spring is March 20, and while it may still be too early to start bringing outdoor furniture out of storage, it’s definitely not too early to start making plans for St. Patrick’s Day. The March 17 holiday, falling on a Saturday this year, is sure to make for long pub lines.

Prepping for the parade

Another early sign of spring is the giant shamrock that will soon be painted on Elm Street in front of Veterans Park in preparation for the city’s 23rd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade that will be held Sunday, March 25 (giving us two days to celebrate).

This year’s parade grand marshal, Sheila Smith, will be honored at the annual “Passing of the Sash” during the 4 p.m. Mass at St. Raphael Parish on Saturday, March 10, followed by the church’s annual corned beef dinner.

Smith was selected by a panel of the previous five parade marshals. The candidate must be of Irish heritage and Catholic faith and be a contributor to the betterment of our city.

Many may recognize Smith from the friendly service she has provided diners at the Puritan Backroom for more than 32 years. She is also a paraprofessional at Wilson Elementary School, where she is known to help collect and distribute clothes and items for families of students in need.

Parade organizers expect Smith, a wife, mom of three, and one of nine children born to Denis and Cecelia O’Neil, to have a large contingent of friends and family marching with her in the parade.

Tickets for the St. Raphael Irish Dinner are $15 and can be purchased by contacting Kerri Stanley at (603) 623-2604. There will be raffle prizes, a cash bar and Irish entertainment.

Blarney Breakfast

Former mayor Bob Baines’ 18th annual Blarney Breakfast will be held Wednesday, March 14, from 7 to 9 a.m. at the Manchester Downtown Hotel (formerly the Radisson).

Famous Irish tenor Ronan Tynan will be performing and Tim Shriver, the chairman of Special Olympics International and son of Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver, will be the featured speaker.

This breakfast benefits The International Institute, Special Olympics, and the American Red Cross. Tickets are $150 each. For more information, contact Amanda Abbott at amandaabbott@MerchantsFleet.com or 603-695-9284.

Bar bound?

Most pubs will open early on the 17th. The Shaskeen is already promoting its 5:30 a.m. breakfast with pints being poured beginning at 6 a.m. There will be live entertainment throughout the day, Ireland versus England rugby on TV, and a live broadcast from 96.5 The Mill.

St. Patrick’s pianos

Looking for something different? Avoid the lines and reserve tickets for a special St. Patrick’s Day edition of dueling pianos at Chunky’s cinema and pub. The pianists will be at the center of the theater for a perfect experience from all angles.

The fun begins at 9 p.m. and tickets are $20.

Know of any other fun Saint Patrick’s Day events in the city? Contact Katie at Scene@UnionLeader.com.


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