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Saranac Lake St. Patrick’s Day festivities kick off Friday | News, Sports, Jobs

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The Lawn Chair Ladies dance down Main Street in the Saranac Lake St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, March 19, 2022.
(Enterprise photo — Aaron Cerbone)

SARANAC LAKE — Saranac Lake’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration will kick off at 6 pm. on Friday, March 17, with a cocktail reception in the Hotel Saranac’s Great Hall.

Currachs and culture

Through the assistance of Albany’s Irish American Heritage Museum, an exhibit entitled “Currachs and Culture on Ireland’s Islands” will be on public display. A “currach” is a type of wood-framed Irish boat, unique to the country’s western coast.

“We felt, given the rich Adirondack history surrounding guideboats, a cultural examination of Irish currachs would be a compelling exhibit to offer the community,” said Saranac Lake Irish Gaelic Organization President John Muldowney.

The calling of the clans

The following day, Saturday, March 18, SLIGO’s St. Patrick’s Day parade will step off at 1 p.m. sharp, led by 2023 Grand Marshal Dennis Dwyer. The parade route begins at the Saranac Lake Post Office and ends at the Harrietstown Town Hall. Most previous years, the parade lined up in the St. Bernard’s Church parking lot and proceeded down Church Street to Main Street. To simplify logistics and avoid the temporary closure of a state road (Church Street), the decision was made to move the route solely to village streets. The parade will line up on Olive Street, next to the post office, beginning at 12:15 p.m. on Saturday.

One signature component of the annual parade, “The Calling of the Clans,” continues to flourish. As of last week, 10 area families, or “clans,” had signed up to march, oftentimes under the banners of their own family crests. An 11th clan, “The O’Ramblers,” is open to anyone wanting to march on Saturday but lacking a clan of their own. Numerous other community groups have also registered for the parade, including the Lawn Chair Ladies, Soma Beats, the Champlain Valley Irish Dancers, and the Saranac Lake Volunteer Fire Department.The Jamaican Olympic bobsled team will also march this year.

“The growth in popularity has been amazing,” said Jen Mott, SLIGO parade director. “Mid-March in Saranac Lake brings unpredictable weather. Last year, we had the luck of the Irish on our side, with perfect weather, and I know we will have it again this year! Our clans and other marching groups aren’t just showing up, year after year. They’re telling others of our great parade, and that is bringing in new groups.”


Immediately following the parade, SLIGO will host a short ceremony in the Harrietstown Town Hall auditorium.

There will be an Irish blessing, traditional music from bagpiper Seamus Cutler, and stage performances by the Champlain Valley Irish Dancers and St. Agnes schoolchildren.

Awards will be presented to parade participants for the following categories: farthest traveled marcher, youngest marcher, oldest marcher, largest clan, best dressed lad (boy), best dressed cailin (girl), and the coveted “Shenanigans” award, honoring the clan that succeeded in causing the most good-natured mischief on the parade route. The word “shenanigan” is derived from the Irish Gaelic “sionnachuighim,” meaning “I play the fox.”

SLIGO flags

Each year, SLIGO designs a commemorative flag to sell to regional business sponsors. This year’s flag overlayed the SLIGO logo on the green, white and orange Irish tricolor.

“It’s been a big hit,” said SLIGO Vice President Ray Scollin. “Certainly, one of our most popular designs to date.”

Business sponsorships are the primary means through which SLIGO funds Saranac Lake’s annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Additional information can be found on the organization’s Facebook page.

Saranac Lake’s St. Patrick’s Day parade and festivities are planned by SLIGO, a group of residents dedicated to community service and the promotion and celebration of Irish and Irish-American history. Membership is open to anyone 18 years of age or older, regardless of heritage or religion.

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