Sprite 26.gif (16838 bytes)       

Front Page

A brief history of St Patricks




Questions about this
WebSite? Mail here




MARCH 18, 2009



Irish eyes smile in Erin


Mass, 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 full.
   “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 said.
   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 Monches Critters.
   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.