WASHINGTON COUNTY'S DAILY NEWSPAPER
eyes smile in Erin
parade highlight St. Patrick’s Day’s festivities
Daily News Staff
TOWN OF ERIN — Whether it started with a Mass or a party and parade,
Tuesday’s theme was togetherness in the town.
St. Patrick’s Day started with an 8:30 Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic
Chapel, named in honor of a saint who was a missionary to Ireland.
“Like all of us, he was on a journey,” said St. Kilian Pastor David La
Plante, who presided over the Mass. “Celebration of St. Patrick’s Day in
Ireland is very different. It’s a religious festivity, and we’re trying to
preserve that here. There is something behind St. Patrick’s Day, and that
is St. Patrick.”
Every seat in the church, which can accommodate approximately 250, was
“The reason I come here (to the Mass) is my grandma and grandpa
(Theresa and Jake Sterr) had a farm here, and this is the church they came
to; this was their way to celebrate,” said Harvey Rettler.
Marge Healy came from Brookfield to attend the service with her friend,
Vivian Quick of Hartford.
“I came up just to be here with my Irish friends,” Healy said.
“It’s a very special day for us. I was a part of the group to save St.
Patrick’s Parish, so (having Mass in the church which closed when it
merged with St. Kilian’s in 1999) is kind of like a homecoming,” Quick
Wally Vogel, retired priest of St. Patrick Parish, returned to
participate in the Mass.
“I always felt a closeness to the people here,” Vogel said. “St.
Patrick’s Day is to bring together all people — any people, whether
they’re Irish — and give thanks to the patron saint, Patrick.”
After the Mass, a different sort of revelry began, as the the town St.
Patrick’s Day Parade wound its way along the hills of Highway K.
“It’s so beautiful out here. It actually looks like Ireland,” said
Melinda Buchbinder, who rode in the parade to promote the Jig with the
Green Pig raffle to benefit the Threshold.
Spectators lined the street to watch colorful floats, animals and
people. However, those in the parade say they aren’t the ones to watch.
“It’s the end of winter. People have cabin fever and want to get out.
It’s the only parade where the people watching are the entertainment,”
said George Strobl, who was marching with his family and the famous
Among the spectators was Kristin Rydzik, who attended the parade with
husband, Chad and daughter Bricelyn, and her group of friends.
“I’ve been coming here since I’ve been old enough to hitch a ride from
Erin Elementary School,” she said. “It’s a national holiday in Erin. More
people take off for St. Patrick’s Day than any other holiday in Erin.”
For Dan and Kelsy Laing of Hustisford, it was their first time taking
part in the parade. They threw custom-made fortune cookies — green,
mint-flavored cookies with Irish fortunes — made at their business, The
Lucky Cookie Company.
“I’ve been here as a spectator before. It’s a great parade, because you
can drink on the side of the road in Wisconsin. Normally, you can’t do
that. And, it’s the only day your wife will let you get drunk in the
morning,” Dan Laing laughed.
Jean Somann made her first appearance in the parade as well, on the H&R
Block of Hartford and Slinger entry.
“We’ve been spectators for years. It’s just a nice community parade,
and the community spirit in Erin really makes the day festive,” she said.
“It’s neat getting to see all the different decorations and to see
everyone getting along and having fun,” said Crystal Sielaff of Hartford
as she helped decorate the H&R Block entry.