1:00 Tent Party (547 N Main) opens
(Main Street, Ceape to Irving)
3:00 Richard’s School of Irish Dance
3:45 Children’s Reddest Hair and Freckled Face Contests
4:00 Irish Band The Roving Scallywags
7:00 Irish Band Whiskey of the Damned
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Tent Party will return to downtown Oshkosh on Saturday, March 19 presented in part by FNB Fox Valley.
Matt Miller is the President of Oshkosh Festivals.
“Our committee has seen tremendous growth over the past three years,” Miller said. “This celebration is for everyone in the community and we are very excited to welcome huge crowds to downtown Oshkosh each year. As Johnny Carson from the Tonight Show once said, ‘If you can’t be in Ireland, be in Oshkosh.’ It’s that time of year when we celebrate Spring and warmer weather. And, it makes no difference if you have Irish heritage or not, this parade and party is for everyone and it’s a whole lot of ‘craic.’”(Irish word for fun)
There are several new groups joining in the parade this year.
“We’re very excited to expand upon our FREE and HEATED Tent Party,” Miller said “with fun music, dancers, food, beverages and cultural displays. The Tent Party runs from 1 until 10 pm, located at 547 N. Main Street. Our event truly appeals to all ages. Of course, everyone loves a parade, but there will also be, bagpipers, Irish Wolfhounds, some Irish Trivia contests, Irish merchandise, and much more.”
At 3:45 there will be a children’s “most freckled face contest,” as well as “the reddest hair contest.” No need to pre-register. Entrance to the Tent Party and all contests are free.
There is also no cost to enter the parade and you can register online at www.OshkoshStPats.com.
“Whether people enter as a marching group,” Miller said “a decorated car, a float, a music group or other interesting entry, everyone will be judged based on how much they incorporated an Irish theme. The top three winning participants will have a donation made to a local nonprofit or community organization of their choosing. We want to encourage everyone to be festive, have fun, and have the possibility to win money for their favorite charity or group. Oshkosh Festivals will make a cash donation on behalf of the top three winning parade participant’s favorite charity or community organization. There will be a cash donation of $250 for 1st place, $150 for 2nd place, and $50 for third place. The winners will be announced at 4:00 inside the Tent Party.”
A couple great bands are scheduled as well.
“What do you get when you combine Irish folk music, sea shanties, electric guitars, and a lot of Irish attitude,” Miller asked? “You get these two bands, The Roving Scallywags and Whiskey of the Damned. Both groups put on a high energy live show that everyone will enjoy. So if you are looking for some good sing along, dance along, beer drinking music, our Tent Party is the place to be!”
The co-parade marshals sound like good choices.
“Our committee has selected two incredible Irishmen to serve as our 2016 Parade Marshals,” Miller said. “Glenn Curran is well-known in Oshkosh as a professional banker and an incredible fundraiser. Glenn helped create many community events, but one of the most popular is ‘Battle on Bago’ the Midwest’s largest ice fishing tournament, which raises over $500,000 annually for charity. Mr. Jim Hyde is a former Microsoft engineer from the Fox Cities who now spends his time lecturing throughout the state on Irish History and Traditions. Jim is a descendant of Ireland’s first President, Doug Hyde, who was elected in the years following the 1916 Easter Rising, or Ireland’s Revolution. In honor of the 100th anniversary and because Jim has done so much to educate people on Ireland’s past, we are pleased to welcome him as a Marshal!”
There are specific regulations for consuming beverages that day.
“As a nonprofit organization raising money for charity,” Miller said “the city has allowed us a temporary beer and wine license. While the Tent Party is open to all ages, anyone drinking alcohol must have a valid ID and wear a wristband. Our Tent Party will be serving food and beverages from 1 until 10 pm. No alcohol is allowed on the streets or sidewalks, but our guests will be able to view the parade from inside our tent.”
The Oshkosh St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Party is organized by Oshkosh Festivals Inc, a 501 c-3 nonprofit.
“Our volunteers organize three local fundraisers aside from this party,” Miller said “Oshkosh Irish Fest June 11-12, and Oshkosh Oktoberfest October 1. Since our founding, we have helped raise over $140,000 for local charities. If anyone is interested in helping sponsor or volunteer, please contact us through the website.”
The parade will step-off at 2 pm in downtown Oshkosh and travel up North Main Street to Irving Ave.
Anyone interested in entering a float or marching group can register online at www.OshkoshStPats.com. Entries will be judged based on an Irish theme.