Photo by Curt Yeomans
J. Charley Griswell Senior Center members Claudia Henderson (from left), Ruth Clark, and Lynette Meadows chat for a little bit at the center’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration, on Thursday.
Where to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
Anyone who wants to celebrate the Irish on St. Patrick’s Day has several options across the Atlanta area. Here is a list of just some of the St. Patrick’s Day activities set to take place this weekend in Clayton and Henry counties, as well as the city of Atlanta.
• The Irish Pub, located at 6459 Ga. Hwy. 42, Suite No. 9, in Rex, is set to hold a Grand Opening Celebration on Saturday, beginning at 11 a.m. A ribbon cutting is scheduled to kick-off the festivities. The neighborhood pub, which was previously known as The Irish Bred Pub, is under knew management, and re-opened on Thursday. Call (770) 389-8970 for more information.
• The Jim Huie Recreation Center, located at 9045 Tara Blvd., in Jonesboro, is scheduled to host a St. Patrick’s Day craft making session for children throughout the day, on Saturday. Call (678) 479-5133 for more information.
• Main Street McDonough is scheduled to host its annual St. Patty’s Day Crawl event all day on Saturday, on the McDonough Square. Participating merchants on the square will be offering St. Patrick’s Day specials and discounts. Call (770) 898-9868 for more information.
• The 130th Atlanta St. Patrick’s Day Parade is scheduled to be held Saturday, beginning at noon. The parade is expected to kick-off at the intersection of Peachtree Street, and Ralph McGill Boulevard, in Downtown Atlanta. It is set to end at the “Five Points” intersection, on Peachtree Street. Some of the parade participants are expected to include: A four-story tall inflatable representation of St. Patrick, a 60-foot tall Kermit the Frog balloon, bagpipe players, marching bands, and the “World’s Largest Irish Flag.” Log onto http://stpatspara..., for more information.
• The Atlanta St. Patrick’s Festival is scheduled to be held immediately after the parade on Saturday, from 1:30 p.m., to 5 p.m., at the 200 Peachtree Street building, which is located at 200 Peachtree Street, in Atlanta. The festival is expected to include Irish dancers, a U2 tribute band, Irish arts and crafts vendors, a marching band, food and beverage vendors, an Irish music session, and a performance by Irish musician Liam O’Connor. Log onto http://stpatspara..., for more information.
Kermit the Frog was wrong. It is easy to be green.
Approximately 60 local senior citizens proudly wore their Irish pride — regardless of whether they were actually Irish — at the J. Charley Griswell Senior Center, in Jonesboro, on Thursday. That was because St. Patrick’s Day arrived a little early for the center, as it celebrated Irish culture and history with a little party.
There were leprechauns on the tables, and more leprechauns on the walls. Flowers in varying shades of green were on every table. Irish soda bread and scones were set out with green punch for the seniors to eat and drink. Many of the seniors went the extra step of covering themselves in green clothing, necklaces made with shamrock-shaped beads and green party hats.
“We have such a diverse group of people who use this center, and we just wanted to showcase the Irish culture for St. Patrick’s Day,” said Melissa Myers Bristol, the Griswell Center’s program coordinator. “People in general associate that day with drinking and partying, but St. Patty’s Day does have a history, and we wanted to make our seniors aware of what that history is.”
Officially, St. Patrick’s Day will be celebrated around the world on Saturday. It will be celebrated with parades in many places, while some places located on rivers will dye the waters green, and many bars and pubs will host St. Patrick’s Day parties.
“Everyone claims to be Irish on St. Patrick’s Day,” Bristol said.
But, for many people who are actually of Irish descent, the day is a celebration of their cultural pride and heritage. “It’s something that keeps them connected to their Irish roots,” said Colleen Love, an Griswell Center office assistant.
Love is an Irish-American whose ancestors came to America from southern Ireland’s County Cork. She gave a presentation on a visit she once made to Ireland during the center’s St. Patrick’s Day Celebration. She talked to the seniors about visiting Blarney Castle, and kissing the Blarney Stone. She also showed them vases made from Waterford Crystal and Belleek Porcelain that she bought in Ireland.
“I wanted to show them why the Irish make such a big deal about St. Patrick’s Day,” she said.
The seniors also watched a video on the Riverdance Irish dancing group, and a slide show about the history of Ireland and St. Patrick’s Day. They also played an Irish trivia game.
Even after the program ended, some of the seniors were having such a good time that they did not want to leave. Jonesboro resident Anne Broughton, 85, got up and started dancing as the center’s employees began packing up the decorations from the party.
“It was just wonderful,” she said. “Everybody enjoyed it.”