Meadville Tribune

February 28, 2013

Grand Leprechaun race leaps ahead!

By Mary Spicer
Meadville Tribune

DUBLIN-ON-FRENCH-CREEK — Under normal circumstances, the first update on the annual race to wear the coveted Grand Leprechaun hat in the annual Jack Curtin St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration wouldn’t hit the streets until Monday.

However, dear readers, these are not ordinary times.

Within mere days of the announcement naming the slate of candidates whose names appear on green-on-white ballots available in select locations around town, marketing buzzsaws are already hard at work, leading attacks indicating that the late literary lion Samuel Johnson, 1709-1894, may well have been on to something with his observation that “the Irish are a fair people; they never speak well of one another.”

(OK. So Johnson was English, making for a prickly relationship at best. It may pinch, but the shoe still fits, although we are willing to concede that except for revealing that he has indeed kissed the Blarney Stone, the only 100-percent Irish candidate in the race, Jack Lynch by name, has devoted the first three days of the race to remaining loftily above the fray.)

Jamie Longo, campaigning to wear the coveted hat while garnering big bucks for Seton Catholic School’s technology fund, is letting no grass — or shamrocks either, for that matter — grow beneath her feet.

As one of four candidates with ties to Seton, she’s the only one who both works there and has two daughters in attendance. A Hartstown native and graduate of Conneaut Lake High School who has lived in Meadville for the past 18 years, Longo is also the only one who has — so far — organized an actual event to mobilize alumni support.

Here it is: Seton Catholic Alumni Night will be March 7 at 6 p.m. in the school gym.

The evening will feature an Alumni Basketball Game — with roles for everyone. “Come and play or be a spectator, cheer on your favorite team and visit with old teachers, coaches and friends,” Longo said, noting that admission is $2; there will be a 50/50 drawing; alumni game T-shirts will be on sale and the concession stand will be open. And proceeds will go to the Grand Leprechaun Contest, before being kicked back to benefit Seton’s Technology Fund.

Alumni of Seton or St. Agatha School who are interested in playing in the game may email Longo at

Racing along ...

In other Grand Leprechaun news, rumors are flying that an unidentified individual was spotted outside the stone ice house at the Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum with a tape measure early Monday morning, immediately following the publication of candidate Josh Sherretts’ announcement that the adorable structure may be available to the highest donor.

While it is not known what he may have been up to, museum director Sherretts — who also teaches at Seton — was heard to remark that “The ice house is not for sale yet ... ummm ... I mean not for sale ... did I say yet?”

The object of Sherretts’ main attention, however, is Hat contender Amy Murphy Wells, a Seton mom and executive director of United Way of Western Crawford County, who launched her campaign with offers of top-donor access to the organization’s incredibly cute Smart Car.

“We can top flashy smart cars,” Sherretts was heard to mutter.

“The museum has a late 1800s carriage,” he continued, whispering conspiratorially to no one in particular. “Our top donor will get pulled — at least a few feet — by me, in the carriage, in the museum’s driveway.”

Unless, of course, someone has a horse who would be willing to pull Sherretts’ top donor in the parade in the museum’s carriage. Public-spirited horses with an interest in making a little history of their own are urged to consider this a formal  R.F.P. (Request For Pullage) and contact the museum.

“I’m very excited that the race is off to such a spirited start,” Parade Heiress Eileen Mullen said Wednesday. “This will definitely prove to be one of the closest races to date. No question that the charities will benefit from the contestants’ desire to win the coveted green hat!”

The 2013 Grand Leprechaun ballot candidates and their charities are:

Larry Dickson, CASA

Jamie Longo, Seton Catholic School

Jack Lynch, Big Brothers and Sisters of Crawford County

Debbie Pavlek, Judith’s Jig

Josh Sherretts, The Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum

Amy Murphy Woods, United Way of Western Crawford County

Votes are for sale for the princely sum of $1 each.

Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at