By Jiabin Liu
Grand Ledge Gazette staff writer
GRAND LEDGE – The community’s 11th St. Patrick’s Day celebration started at Opera House on March 14.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association held a celebration event before the parade at Opera House from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Around 240 people attended this event.
During the celebration, they presented various cultural and traditional activities. Children from 6 to 18 years old danced traditional Irish dancing, the Glen Erin Bagpipe Band performed Irish music and the Pub Runners played Irish folk songs.
The St. Patrick Day Parade Association started about 13 years ago in a small neighborhood. And now they have five board members and nine volunteers in the organization.
“We wanted to keep Irish heritage alive from generation to generation and to understand the traditional dance, traditional music as well as the immigration – how the Irish came to America,” Dan O’Shea said, treasurer of St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association, who organized the event.
The Opera House, located on the side of Grand River, has held the St. Patrick’s Day event for 10 years.
“The community uses the building for a lot of events,” said Melanie May, the facility manager at the Opera House.
“And the majority of the events here are weddings, business meetings, music events, and school events as well,” May said.
Jim Cotter, Grand Ledge resident, went to the event with his family. Cotter and O’Shea have known each other for years, and their families interacted back in college.
“I think it’s a wonderful cultural experience and a very enjoyable evening, kind of gathering and recognizing the Irish culture,” Cotter said. “Dan’s playing a very important role and kind of bringing the St. Patrick’s Day celebration to the community.”
John Cosgrove, Grand Ledge resident, goes to the event every year. Cosgrove, his son and his brother sang Irish songs together.
“It’s one of the best St. Patrick’s Day party I’ve ever been to,” Cosgrove said. “We look forward to it every year.”
Contact reporter Jiabin Liu at firstname.lastname@example.org