By Mary Spicer
DUBLIN-ON-FRENCH-CREEK — Ladies, there’s about to be a sparkle in those Irish eyes.
Meadville Mayor Christopher Soff and reigning Grand Leprechaun Christian Maher have officially stepped forward, urging the men of Meadville to expand their wardrobes to include a kilt for wearing in the 26th Annual Jack Curtin St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration.
Insider tip: Among those unaligned with family clans, the ever-popular Irish National tartan is emerging as the fashionable kilt of choice in Meadville. Combining green, white and orange, which happen to be the colors of the Irish flag, this classic tartan (OK — classic since 1996) was seized upon by the aforesaid mayor as reminiscent of the official colors of the City of Meadville itself, those being green, white and gold.
As for what to wear with a kilt, everything from the rugby jersey of one’s choice to the ever-so formal Bonnie Prince Charlie outfit — complete with jacket, vest, tuxedo shirt and bow tie — will be just fine.
Garter flashes, cute though they may be, are not required. Ditto for the traditional ghillie brogue shoes, although with the mid-March weather so familiar to Meadvillians, shoes that dry quickly because they don’t have a tongue and don’t get stuck in the mud because their laces extend above the ankle may not be such a bad idea.
Already own a kilt? The mayor, never at a loss for words, offers seven words: “Belt it on and come on down!”
Parade of a lifetime
Those who have spent the past 27 years lost in meditation on the sacred Skellig Rocks — rising jagged from the crashing sea off the southwestern coast of the Emerald Isle itself — have returned just in time.
This year’s parade promises to be one of the most spectacular on record, according to parade heiress Eileen Mullen, who inherited the whole thing from her late father, Jack, and humbly wears the official title of “committee chairperson.”
The parade kicks off promptly at noon on March 16 — officially known as The Saturday Before St. Patrick’s Day. After departing from its point of origin at Diamond Park and proceeding along a balloon-bedecked Chestnut Street, the traveling festival winds up at the Downtown Mall, where performances, costume prizes and community spirit awards immediately become the order of the day as the celebration portion of the venture reigns supreme.
Community members and organizations are cordially invited to march in the parade. While its organizational structure can accurately be described as “casual” at best, interested parties should contact John Kerr at Jeron’s Jewelers, 336-3910, to reserve their spot.
Mark your calendar
The 26th Annual Jack Curtin St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration kicks off from Meadville’s Diamond Park promptly at noon on March 16.
The kick-off of the cutthroat annual race for the honor of wearing the coveted hat of the Grand Leprechaun in the aforementioned parade will be announced Feb. 25.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.