Irish town goes green for St. Patty’s Day

Gary Linehan, The Union Democrat /

Murphys Irish Day, an annual event attracting thousands of people from throughout Northern California, will take place Saturday in downtown Murphys.

The celebration, presented by the Murphys Business Association, pays tribute to the Gold Rush town's Celtic heritage.

The day will begin with a pancake breakfast from 8 to 10:30 a.m. at the Congregational Church on the corner of Church and Algiers Streets. The price of breakfast is $7 for adults and $4 for children under 10.

The Main Street festivities will start at 10 a.m. and continue until 5 p.m. There is no admission charge.

Some 100 vendors, including 30 that are new to the event, will be set up along Main Street and will offer fine arts and crafts, Irish Day T-shirts, Irish themed souvenirs, food and beverages.

Local churches and community organizations will offer an assortment of baked goods, including Irish soda bread and several kinds of cookies.

Live entertainment will be presented throughout the day, including the White Hackle Pipe and Drums, the Tommyknocker Cloggers, Sequoia, Plan B, Grover Anderson Band, Matt Cullen and Friends, Sammi Leverone and Jim Lanier and Friends.

Pony rides and face painting will entertain the young folk. Rusty O'Flattery, the 10-foot-tall leprechaun, also will stroll from one end of Main Street to the other.

At 11 a.m., the Murphys Irish Day Parade will make its way down Main Street.

Helping to create a Celtic atmosphere will be the White Hackle Pipe Band and the Irish Cultural Society of Stanislaus County. The Cub Scouts, as is tradition, will be the color guard and lead the parade.

Members of the Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts and preschoolers will be among the other groups representing the young people of the area.

There will be equestrian units including the Tuolumne County Sheriff's Posse and the Peppermint Creek Carriage. Among the other animals taking part will be the canine members of the Sierra West Bernese Mountain Dog Club.

Local organizations participating will include the Native Sons of the Golden West, with their giant California flag, Soroptimist International of Calaveras County, Sheriff's Department and the Murphys Fire District.

Recently retired Superior Court Judge Douglas Mewhinney will serve as grand marshal. Riding with him will be his wife of 40 years, Cathi.

Announcers Dave Bowman and Jim Bailey will be stationed along the parade route to describe each entry.

The luck of the Irish will take on special meaning for one happy couple when they are transported from a Gold Rush town with Irish heritage to the fabled land of shamrocks and leprechauns as grand prize winners of a trip for two to Ireland.

The winners will enjoy their first night in a pre-booked accommodation in Dublin or Shannon and then spend the next five nights in Irish bed and breakfast inns sprinkled throughout the countryside. Air transportation and a standard shift rental car are included. Some restrictions apply.

Specially created Murphys area vacation prize packages will be awarded to three runners-up.

Raffle tickets are five dollars each or five for $20. Winners need not be present to win.

Free Irish Day parking will be available at Ironstone Vineyards on Six Mile Road. A free shuttle bus, provided by Ironstone and the Murphys Business Association, will run between Ironstone and the Arbors parking lot at Jones and Scott Streets. Shuttles will leave approximately every 20 minutes from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Paid parking will be available close to the event off of Big Trees Road and Main Street and free parking will be available at the Black Bart Playhouse parking lot on Algiers Street after the parade has finished and cleared, around 12:30 p.m. Handicap parking will be located in the Arbors parking lot at Jones and Scott streets.

There will be no parking from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Main Street and other surrounding roads.

A sunny 75-degree day is predicted.

"The weather plays a major role in the success of this annual celebration," said Jim Heryford, president of the Murphys Business Association. "We couldn't be more pleased."

The day's proceeds will fund the activities of the business association as well as community projects and enhancements.

For more information, go to www.visitmurphys.com .

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