Saint Patrick’s Day was Thursday but what’s considered the state’s biggest Irish festival is underway today (Saturday) in the northwest Iowa town of Emmetsburg. Mick Conlon runs the community’s St. Pat’s Association, which is focused on a host of events, including the parade starting at 1:30. There are 135 entries in this year’s edition, which Conlon says means it’ll be a huge parade, complete with bagpipe bands, leaping leprechauns and gobs of green floats. While it’s a holiday on which people wear green, many are thinking about white, since several inches of snow fell in the past day. Conlon says never fear, there are plenty of steaming beverages flowing to keep you warm.He recommends coffee, hot chocolate and hot cider. A speaker will give some local history and tell how the Irish settled in the area. Weekend activities in Emmetsburg, nicknamed the Emerald Isle of Iowa, include plays, dances, live music, an Irish cooking contest, a banquet dinner, a basketball tournament, rugby championships and the O’Round the Loch Scholarship Run.
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