Come Join the Craic

Come Join the Craic
StPatricksDayParadeQuebec_MainLogoI recently decided to come up with a new retirement plan; find myself a leprechaun. As the luck of the Irish would have it, The Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec is on March 24, 2012 at 1:30 p.m. and I figured it would be the perfect opportunity for me to find a pot of gold, and I’m not talking about the chocolates.

Under the guise of finding out more about the parade I contacted Catherine McKenna, one of the organizers, and asked her how she first became involved. “I hve known parade president Peter Farrell for several years, from Pub Nelligan’s,” recalled McKenna. “We just got chatting one time I was in for a pint…he talked to me about the possibility of bringing back the parade and about Marianna O’Gallagher, and how she was heart and soul behind the idea of the parade’s revival…I was absolutely delighted to be welcomed to jump onboard!”

Once onboard, Catherine found out that organising a parade takes “Roll-up-your-sleeves-with-your-thinking-cap-on WORK, and a lot of it!” as she put it. “Remember,” McKenna told me, “this parade was started from scratch by our group, which is primarily made up of very bright and talented young francophones with tireless energy and dedication.” They have also received much appreciated advice and support from the St. Patrick’s Society and the United Irish Societies, both of Montreal.

For a third consecutive year, 30 professional bagpipers and percussionists from the New York Police Department Pipes and Drums will march in this year’s parade. McKenna pointed out that creative participation is key as they very deliberately do not use floats. “There are many tasks of different kinds available for volunteers, both in the parade itself, and at St. Patrick’s School on parade day,” invites Catherine. “Anyone with something to contribute is welcome to contact us.”

The parade organizing team. Catherine McKenna is seen here on the extreme right.  Photo courtesy of Le Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec

The parade organizing team. Catherine McKenna is seen here on the extreme right.
Photo courtesy of Le Défilé de la Saint-Patrick de Québec

Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day; at least that’s how the saying goes. McKenna echoes this sentiment when she explained that the objective of the parade was “for one and all to simply have a great time, and celebrate Irish presence in Québec. We are non-denominational, and have no political or other affiliations, which means that everyone is welcome, of course! If you have an Irish ancestor, it’s a day to remember your heritage. If not, it’s a day to get out and have fun, join in the craic, and enjoy the festivities that will surely brighten up the long days of Québec spring!”

“Just be there!!” That’s Catherine’s advice on how to best enjoy the parade. She also counsels parade goers to “dress appropriately for the weather with a touch or more of your best green! We are a family event, so bring your grandparents, and great-grandparents and as many of your young ones as possible!”

* There are online application forms at for both participants and volunteers.

(Catherine never did answer my questions concerning leprechauns. She thought they were “Better left a mystery”. She’s probably hoping to snag one herself. Is leir don saol e an firinne!)

Categories: Arts & Culture, News

About Author

Jason Enlow

Jason Enlow is a Special Education Technician at an English elementary school. He was born in Montreal, Quebec and grew up in Burlington, Ontario. Jason studied Radio and Television at Ryerson University in Toronto. His previous employers include CityTV, CBC, The Weather Network, and Global Television. He’s worked as a DJ, camera operator, musician, teacher, translator and video game content designer. Jason moved to Quebec City in 1997 where he still lives today with his wife and three sons.