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Murphys Irish Days Parade This Weekend

Forty-eight entries will entertain the crowd lining historic Main Street when the 2004 Murphys Irish Days Parade is presented Saturday, March 20, starting at 10 a.m.

“It looks like this year´s parade is going to be the biggest and best ever,” states JoAnna Reagan, parade co-chair. “And the official forecast is for beautiful weather which will be relief from the snow and rain we have had the last two years.”

Music will be a major feature with the Gaelic sounds of the White Hackle Pipe Band, the cadence of the Avery Middle School Drum Line, the youthful enthusiasm of the Vallecito Union School District (VUSD) Fifth Grade Band, and the rousing renditions from the Bret Harte High School Marching Band.

In keeping with the musical entries, the Grand Marshal will be Mickey Harper, VUSD´s music maven and the winner of the prestigious 2004 Mr. Holland´s Opus Foundation Award. She will be riding in the classic orange pick-up of Joe Senn. “I´m more comfortable in a truck than a convertible,” says Harper.

Youth groups will be well represented with boy, girl, and cub scouts as well as children from local day care and preschools and the Firehouse Dance Studio. Somewhat older paraders will include two units of the Red Hat Society, the La De Dahs and the Mother Lode Madams, the aerobic High Steppers, the Fanciful Lady, Mattress Mary, and members of the American Cancer Society´s Relay For Life. The Native Sons of the Golden West will be on hand with their giant California state flag.

There will be plenty of animals in the parade. Canine marchers will include the Dog Gone Good Drill Team, Sierra Guide Dogs, and the Jenny Lind 4-H group. Horse units from the Tuolumne County Sheriffs Posse, the Calaveras Saddle Club, and the Bustles and Beaus, will join the parade along with an entry from the Peppermint Creek Carriage Company.

Luke Nelson and his popular Pick-Up Artists will once again be on hand to make sure the parade route remains clean for one and all.

Classic cars and trucks will include the Mother Lode A´s, two World War II jeeps, a vintage fire truck, a 1940 Dodge pick-up, a depot hack, a thirty-one year old 911 Porsche, and the familiar green truck of Havenoux Vineyards. Stu Laidlaw, noted automobile restorer, will also participate driving “whatever is running that day,” he says.

A major attraction will be the authentically costumed members of Saint Gyles Renaissance Guild from Sunnyvale who will escort Her Royal Highness the Princess from Ireland Aislain O´Brien. The Guild will be entertaining in the Murphys Community Park throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Among the local groups that will have entries will be the Ebbetts Pass Forest Watch, Operation Military Support, Sierra Logging Museum, the Calaveras County Republican Women and the Calaveras County Democrats. The Murphys Fire District, the Calaveras County Sheriff´s Department, Ironstone Vineyards, KVML, KKBN, and KZSQ will also be represented.

Leading the parade will be officers of the Murphys Business Association carrying the official parade banner. The MBA is responsible for Irish Days and all its activities. Throughout Saturday there will be music and other entertainment, activities for young and old, a wide variety of food and drink available, and a vast array of vendors.