Zophia Raleigh is the current Miss Shamrock for the St. Patrick’s Day Association in St. Paul. She has served for two terms instead of the typical one term. This year’s Miss Shamrock competition had to be put aside for the safety of the community.
To take part in the competition as a princess you have to be female-identifying, 18+ but 21+ preferred and have Irish heritage. Most years, shamrock princesses will go from bar to bar selling buttons and greeting people on Fridays and Saturdays, joined by the Blarney brothers, the masculine version of the princesses. They also do service work in the community, write an essay and take part in a congeniality contest.
The button proceeds go toward the cost of having a parade and anything leftover is donated back to the community. This year the association is selling masks. There will also be a reverse food truck at this year’s celebration, which accepts donations rather than making a profit.
In order to attend this event, participants had to reserve spots not just to be in the parade, but to watch as well. Masks and social distancing are required. At the time of writing, the event is full.
For those who cannot make a reservation, the event will be held via Facebook Live. 150 cars will drive through the parade. The cars are encouraged to be decorated, with five decoration categories the drivers can win. The association has worked hard to recreate as much of St. Paddy’s atmosphere as possible while taking proactive steps to ensure safety.
The St. Patty’s day celebration starts on March 13 and ends on March 20. There will be an Irish fair in August. To experience St. Paul’s Irish culture outside of these events, Miss Shamrock recommends visiting Emmett’s Public House, The Dubliner Pub, Bennett’s Chop & Railhouse, Shamrocks Cafe and Irish on Grand. Irish on Grand even has a small bodega for groceries and other Irish goods. To learn some Irish dance, she recommends checking out Rince na Chroi Irish Dancers, a local dance studio.
“The association wishes everyone a safe and happy St. Patty’s. Hope to see you out and about next year,” Raleigh said.