Alexandria St Patricks Parade
Written on February 10, 2016
The Ballyshaners, organizer of Alexandria’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade. . The Ballyshaners is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Irish history and culture. “We are thrilled that the Butchers accepted our invitation to serve as the Grand Marshals for our upcoming parade,” said Ballyshaners Chairman Mike Pablo. “The Butcher family’s long history in Alexandria, plus Bill and Karen’s efforts not only to create outstanding craft beers, but also to also make Alexandria better-known throughout the nation made them an obvious choice,” Pablo noted. Bill Butcher is a fourth generation Alexandrian and serves on the Board of Governors of Visit Alexandria. Karen is a Partner at Morgan Lewis, where she leads the global trademark, copyright and advertising practice. She also has enjoyed watching their boys participate in Alexandria Little League baseball over the last several years. Karen and Bill live in Rosemont with their two sons, Riley and Key. Bill noted, “Karen and I were thrilled to be asked to lead the Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We have participated in the event for the last five years. Serving as Grand Marshals in our hometown is a terrific honor. It will be a great day.” Bill Butcher began his career in the wine business working with Robert Mondavi Wine Company building world-class fine wine brands in the Mid-Atlantic market. As a longtime craft beer aficionado, Bill watched the craft beer business evolve, and become more like the fine wine business. It was this evolution that convinced him and Karen to start Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria in 2011, when there were no other packaging breweries in the DC area. Through their dedication to creating high quality products, Bill and Karen quickly established Port City Brewing as a quality leader in the D.C and Mid-Atlantic craft beer market. Port City Brewing has achieved national acclaim for its beers, including 9 medals at The Great American Beer Festival, and being named Small Brewing Company of the Year in 2015. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is financed through fundraising, sponsorship and partial support from the City of Alexandria. The Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on Saturday, March 4, 2017. For more information about or to support the parade, visit www.ballyshaners.org
There are several accounts of Saint Patrick’s death. One says that Patrick died at Saul, Downpatrick, Ireland, on March 17, 460 A.D. His jawbone was preserved in a silver shrine and was often requested in times of childbirth, epileptic fits, and as a preservative against the “evil eye.” Another account says that St. Patrick ended his days at Glastonbury, England and was buried there. The Chapel of St. Patrick still exists as part of Glastonbury Abbey. Today, many Catholic places of worship all around the world are named after St. Patrick, including cathedrals in New York and Dublin city
A toast for St Patrick’s Day, “May the roof above us never fall in, and may we friends beneath it never fall out.”
Saint Patrick’s Day?
Saint Patrick’s Day has come to be associated with everything Irish: anything green and gold, shamrocks and luck. Most importantly, to those who celebrate its intended meaning, St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional day for spiritual renewal and offering prayers for missionaries worldwide.
Why is it celebrated on March 17th? One theory is that that is the day that St. Patrick died. Since the holiday began in Ireland, it is believed that as the Irish spread out around the world, they took with them their history and celebrations. The biggest observance of all is, of course, in Ireland. With the exception of restaurants and pubs, almost all businesses close on March 17th. Being a religious holiday as well, many Irish attend mass, where March 17th is the traditional day for offering prayers for missionaries worldwide before the serious celebrating begins.
In American cities with a large Irish population, St. Patrick’s Day is a very big deal. Big cities and small towns alike celebrate with parades, “wearing of the green,” music and songs, Irish food and drink, and activities for kids such as crafts, coloring and games. Some communities even go so far as to dye rivers or streams green!