Irish Eyes Smile in Emmetsburg for St. Patrick’s Day

It all started with two gentlemen. I’m sure Gary Girard and John McCain from Emmetsburg didn’t know the legacy that they were going to leave behind!

These men were the masterminds of lots of “blarney” that put Emmetsburg on the map. They even invented a football team and would call in the scores of the Celtic’s football team to the local television stations. Can you imagine them sitting back, watching the evening news seeing the scores on TV of a made-up football game?  I can hear them laughing even now.


Thanks to the two of them, their creative minds and Irish spirits, Emmetsburg, Iowa, is known as the Irish Capital of Iowa. In 1962, Emmetsburg and Dublin, Ireland, were officially designated Sister Cities. The St. Patrick’s Association in Emmetsburg has hosted a member of the Irish parliament during the town’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration ever since.

The three-day event includes pageants for four different age groups of lassies, a morning dedicated to the children, a parade, Irish Stew Dinner, teas and the “O ‘Round the Loch” run.  New this year will be a performance by The Langer’s Ball. They are an Irish band that plays at all the Irish fests in the tri-state area. We are excited that we were able to have them put on a show for us.

A complete listing of our events can be found at  Most of our events are free to the public due to the generous support of our community.

And, if you don’t have the right shade of green, feel free to check out our gift shop.  It is a sea of green!

Billie Jo Hoffman, St. Patrick’s Association of Emmetsburg
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