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Luck of the Irish: Downtown bursts into colors of green for St. Paddy’s

Crowds gathers at the International Storytelling Plaza on March 17 for more than a little St. Patrick’s Day fun.


Staff Writer

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What do you get when you combine beautiful weather, a great band, beer and a giant Irish wolfhound? Easy.

You get downtown Jonesborough this past Saturday night.

Hundreds of folks flocked to the plaza at the International Storytelling Center on March 17 to sample Irish-based food and listen to Irish music with a cold brew in their hand. Many others came downtown Friday night for Paddy’s Dash while some sleuths tried to “Find Paddy,” the leprechaun figure, or solve the “JBO Hunt” scavenger hunt.

“It was great. The whole weekend was busy,” Main Street Jonesborough Director Melinda Copp said. “We had lots of people that came down and participated in the scavenger hunt and we were very happy with the whole weekend.”

The highlight of the weekend was the “Shamrockin’ on the Plaza” event Saturday night. At the entrance to the plaza stood the kissing booth; manned by “Henry” the gigantic Irish wolfhound.  Henry stayed busy for the majority of the night, either giving out kisses or being the subject of many pictures.

Also busy was the Depot Street Brewery Beer Garden, which provided the refreshments, while corned beef and cabbage was provided by Boone Street Market.

Two attendees who competed in the scavenger hunt were Jennifer Johnson of Jonesborough and Melanie Patterson of Erwin.

“We were searching for this (last clue) for a while because of all the people,” Johnson said.  While they came downtown to decipher the clues, Patterson admitted, “Oh, well, I heard they had beer, too.”

The Irish music came courtesy of  “The Organic Family Band” out of Baltimore, Maryland.  David Wiley, the founder and president of the Historic Jonesborough Dance Society, booked the band originally for a “Contra Dance” held that Saturday night at the Historic Jonesborough Visitors Center. Wiley said the band “enthusiastically decided” to play the “Shamrockin’” event.

“I would say it was over-the-top successful,” Wiley said.

The St. Paddy’s Weekend attendees weren’t the only people having a nice weekend. “All the (downtown) merchants said they had a good weekend,” Copp said. “I think everybody had a good time.”

Next year’s St. Paddy’s Weekend may even get bigger, she said. “We hope to continue and expand it each year. You learn each year what works and what doesn’t; we’re excited to expand.

“Maybe next year we’ll have more music and things during the day instead of just the evening hours.”

Copp added that the successful weekend was due to the assistance of many people. “Thanks to everyone that participated, many thanks to the Jonesborough Area Merchants & Services Association for helping us sponsor it, the McKinney Center for coming and doing the art and the HJDS for partnering with us with the bands. Overall, it was a lot of fun.”