By Mary Spicer
Contestants in the race to wear the coveted hat of Grand Leprechaun in the 26th Annual Jack Curtin St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration, which steps off from Meadville’s Diamond Park on Saturday at noon, are campaigning for votes with a voracity never before witnessed upon these verdant shores.
In order of their current ranking, the candidates and their charities are: Jamie Longo, Seton Catholic School technology fund; Amy Murphy Woods, United Way of Western Crawford County; Josh Sherretts, Baldwin-Reynolds House Museum; Debbie Pavlek, Judith’s Jig Memorial 5k Race; Jack Lynch, Big Brothers & Sisters of Crawford County; Larry Dickson, CASA.
Votes are $1 each. A sampling of rewards includes:
Thursday — Woods: “Let’s talk about your Mom 2013 Tour” with Lon Wilson and featuring MC’s John Swick and Drew Clarkson at Days Inn, 18360 Conneaut Lake Road, Vernon Township, 7 p.m. Tickets $5. Prizes (drawn at 9 p.m.), auctions, raffles. Reserve a table by calling 337-4264.
n Woods: The top donor will be chauffeured for the parade and a night out in the LIVE UNITED Smart Car. ... Also, dinner for six — with two bottles of wine — prepared by a chef from Montana’s Rib & Chop House at the home of the winner or at the restaurant. Tickets, $10 each or three for $20, available at Montana’s or from the contestant.
n Sherretts: The top donor gets “A Day in Your Honor” proclaimed by Meadville Mayor Christopher Soff. ... Also, through Thursday, win a “wavy bowl” from Campbell Pottery by donating to the campaign; $1 per ticket or 6 for $5. Tickets available at Crawford County Convention and Visitor’s Bureau. ... Also, the person or group with the largest donation will receive two free tickets to the museum’s "Fashionable Luncheon" on June 22 at 1 p.m. featuring its newest exhibit of clothing from the Downton Abbey era, a signed photograph of one of the cast members of Downton Abbey, and an exclusive tour of the museum’s former servants quarters and current storage areas on the third floor. Contract Sherretts when making a donation.
n Dickson: A night’s stay at Bethaven Inn bed and breakfast, donated by Kathy and Gary Yaeger, will be awarded to one lucky donor who contributes $25 or more. That drawing will be Monday. ... Two donors contributing $10 or more will each be awarded a free massage at Mind Body Wellness Center. The drawing will also be Monday.
SATURDAY — The annual Jack Curtin St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration kicks off at noon from Diamond Park and proceeds along Chestnut Street to the Downtown Mall. Large groups, enormous floats and bands can register in advance by contacting John Kerr at Jeron Jewelers, 307 Chestnut St., 336-3910.
— The annual Blarney Breakfast hosted by Unitarian Universalist Church of Meadville at the corner of Chestnut and South Main streets at Diamond Park will be served from 9 a.m. to noon. The menu includes pancakes, eggs, sausage, the legendary baked oatmeal and a choice of beverage. Tickets are $7 per adult and $3.50 per child under 10. Call 724-4023 to purchase tickets in advance.
— Judith’s Jig Memorial 5K Race in memory of the late Meadville resident Judith Gilbert begins and ends at Diamond Park. Registration starts 9 a.m.; race at 10 a.m. Race day registration is $22 for all runners and walkers. Proceeds benefit CASA and Kansius Research Foundation.
— Meadville Market House will feature special cookies and appropriate music of the day.
— “2 for the Road.” Landscapes of Ireland by Carmen DiGiacomo will be on display for the fifth year at Sandy’s Art Works, 215 Chestnut St., Meadville. He will be signing on Parade Day. The second photographer is landscape artist Basil Bumbera. A retired science teacher, Basil shows his fondness for plant and animal life. The show continues through March 31.
SUNDAY — Corned beef and cabbage dinner hosted by Christ Episcopal Church (the church with the red doors on Diamond Park). Served from 12:30 to 3 p.m. — or until the food runs out. Irish music provided by DJ Jim Brink. Cindy Thompson from the Market House Grill is in charge of the kitchen. Tickets $10. Menu includes corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, green beans, rolls and apple sauce. Eat in or take out. Reservations are strongly advised. Call 724-7389 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Thursday and include name, number of meals, whether takeout or eat in and expected time of arrival.
Mary Spicer can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.