Sperryville, if not nature, will go green by March 13

After a record-setting winter like this one, sufferers of cabin fever and snow phobia may be looking for a party to celebrate the coming of spring. And the Rappahannock County Lions Club is planning just that: Its second annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Celebration in Sperryville on Saturday, March 13.

The 2009 parade brought Irish smiles and green garb to Little Washington, including those of Bob Anderson a 1932 Buick roadster, passenger Jim Gannon in front and leprechaun Norman Getsinger.

It’s almost time to break out the green outfits and the Irish songs and cook up a huge batch of Irish stew—and all that and more will be part of the fun of this Lions Club fund-raiser. Proceeds from the event will be used to support Lions Club projects to benefit the community.

After a highly successful first run in the Town of Washington in 2009, the St. Paddy’s Day events move this year to Sperryville. Last year’s party in the Washington fire hall was a sellout in advance, so this year the Irish luncheon and music program will be held at The Link Community Center, which can accommodate more people.

The parade will step off at 11 a.m. on a route from the Sperryville fire hall down Route 211 to Main Street, and then over the bridge to The Link. The parade is open to all participants—individuals, organizations, fire companies, businesses, animals and their keepers. Owners of classic or antique cars, horseback riders, scouting groups or church groups are welcome to participate. Among those scheduled to join the parade are the Rappahannock County High School marching band, the Piedmont Caledonia Bagpipers, local fire and rescue companies and Sperryville businesses. (To join the parade, call Steve Kerchner at 540-675-3905.)

After the parade, the Irish luncheon and music program will follow at 12 noon at The Link. David Huff and his crew from The Country Café in Washington will cater a hearty lunch of Guinness Beef Stew and corned beef and cabbage, with desserts. A cash bar will offer your favorite brew or soda and (weather permitting) the big Lions tent outside The Link will offer hot dogs, snacks and drinks.

The entertainment program will include rousing pub music by King Golden Banshee, an Irish band from Charlottesville, VA., and Whiskey Wagon, a local Rappahannock group. Fast-stepping jigs and reels will be performed by the Warrenton-based Irish dance group called Aoibhneas an Rince (that’s Gaelic for “joy of dance”).

The Lions leprechaun will bring his proverbial pot o’ gold in the form of raffles, and some lucky winners will go away with a dream island vacation, or a two-day, chauffeured tour of Rappahannock wineries for six persons, with overnight accommodations and dining.

Prizes will be awarded for the most colorful and imaginative St. Pat’s costumes, for both adults and children. So break out your green and glitter and dress your lads and lassies to compete in the Best Dressed competition!

Tickets to the luncheon and music program cost $15 per person and are available from Lions Club members, or may be purchased by e-mailing Jim Gannon at gannon54@comcast.net. Tickets also are on sale at Rappahannock National Bank and in Sperryville at The Corner Store and Roy Wheeler Realty. Last year, all tickets were sold in advance and none were available at the door on the day of the event, so don’t wait if you want to be sure to attend.

Raffle tickets are available at $5 each. The chauffer-driven wine tour will visit six Rappahannock County wineries over two days, with guest accommodations in Sperryville and dinner certificates at Thornton River Grille in Sperryville and Griffin Tavern in Flint Hill. The island vacation offers a four-bedroom beach house on Tybee Island, near Savannah, GA, with accommodations for up to 14 persons.
The event is a fund-raiser to support Lions Club projects and charities in Rappahannock County. The Lions Club contributes more than $20,000 annually to local schools, athletic programs, charities, scholarships and other community causes. All profits will go to these projects.

Success of the event depends partly on sponsorships by local businesses and individuals. Gold sponsors contribute $100 and silver sponsors donate $50 to underwrite costs of the luncheon and entertainment. Sponsors will be publicly recognized and thanked at the event. To become a sponsor, contact Jim Gannon at (540) 675-3657 or send your check to Lions Club, PO Box 595, Flint Hill, VA 22627.

About James P. Gannon 21 Articles
James P. Gannon is a retired journalist who lives near Flint Hill. In his newspaper career, he served as a reporter and bureau chief at The Wall Street Journal, as Editor of The Des Moines Register in Iowa, and as Washington Bureau Chief for the Detroit news and a columnist for the Gannett newspapers.