Photo submitted The Jeff Craig Traveling Trophy will be awarded to the best float in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade this weekend.

Photo submitted
The Jeff Craig Traveling Trophy will be awarded to the best float in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade this weekend.

The St. Paddy’s Day Parade, which has grown in size and stature in recent years, will take on added significance this year. Event organizers Tim Foley and Chip Kiefer have announced the establishment of a Best in Show award named in honor of the late Jeff Craig, always one of the key personalities of the parade. The Jeff Craig Traveling Trophy will be awarded to the best float in the parade each year.
“Jeff set an unequaled standard as parade announcer and commentator,” explained Kiefer. “We will certainly miss his presence, but his humor and spirit will continue to inspire everyone at our St. Paddy’s Day Parade year after year.”
This year’s festivities featured the “Passing of the Shillelagh” held Saturday, March 11 on Main Street between the TOW Bar and Tony Harper’s, Too. The Moore family, grand marshals of last year’s parade, passed the Official Shillelagh to Jack Graham, representing the Old Forge Emergency Response Services.
Foley noted that the Passing of the Shillelagh is a fairly recent addition to the festivities. “This celebratory event is not to be taken lightly,” he said. “It is no longer a small, symbolic gesture, but rather an essential (and somewhat inflated, self-important) part of our continually growing St. Patrick’s Day-Week celebration.”
The high point of the week-long celebration will be, for many, Friday’s St. Paddy’s Day Parade, held on Main Street at 5 p.m.
The traditional parade will McStep up Main Street from Keyes Pancake House to the Old Forge Fire Hall. Any individuals, groups, and businesses may participate in the parade free of charge. Registration and loose organization will be held at the Keyes parking lot up until 4:45 p.m. on Friday.
Immediately following the parade, all are invited to the Old Forge Fire Hall for an Irish Family McPicnic. Featured will be Irish music and storytelling, McCorned Beef, O’Baked Goods, McCandy for the kids, and bag pipers.
It’s clear that the local St. Patrick’s Day festival, often imitated by other communities, has grown into a week-long celebration which cannot be described, it must be experienced. The green machinery was set in motion Saturday on Main Street, and will continue through Ski Green Weekend at McCauley Mountain.