Rain or shine, St. Patrick's Day in Sellwood is well-observed, and a lot of fun

DAVID F. ASHTON - In their second performance at St. Agathas on St. Patricks Day, this troupe from the Murray School of Irish Dance were not actually dancing ON the floor! Only the Irish can defeat gravity like that - and only on St. Patricks Day, to be sure. The phrase, "Everyone is a little Irish on St. Patrick's Day" looked to be true in Sellwood on March 17, as St. Agatha's Catholic School held their 20th Annual St. Patrick's Day Festival.

Everyone, including this year's Event Chair, Kurt Krasneski, was pleased that – for the first time in years – the sun broke through the clouds as the annual parade stepped off at noon, with nary a drop of rain. The annual march was guided by a cadre of Portland Police Traffic Division motorcycle cops.

The parade, featuring the Sellwood Middle School Marching Band, kicked off thed afternoon festival as hundreds of visitors, including children with decorated bikes, headed out for their circuit through Sellwood north to Westmoreland and back.

"When our guests return, they'll find that we've really focused on packing the day with music and dance, provided by eleven groups, throughout the day," organizer Krasneski told THE BEE. Krasneski said his favorite part of the day is seeing the kids having fun. "Ours is a festival where all of the members of the family know they'll have fun when they come every year."

In the kitchen, Chef Brian Quinn, also in his 20th year at the task, was hard at work. "We've made more than 200 sausage rolls so far this morning. We have 40 pounds of corned beef ready to go, and there are gallons of mashed potatoes to make more 'shepherd's pie' servings than you could count. We're feeding least 300 people!"

St. Agatha's Catholic School's Principal Chris Harris remarked that he, too, was looking forward to the day. "I'm so excited that this is our 20th year; and, it's amazing how far this festival has come! It started out as a small parish dinner! And, I love the community support of this event, including all of local businesses and neighbors.

"One of the ways we 'live our faith' is through service; and one of the ways we are of service to our neighbors and our community is this festival!"

As for the day, was it sunny and dry throughout? Of course not. But it was pretty dry, and – like the Emerald Isle itself – green, and looking ready for spring!

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