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Mother Lode town honors Celtic roots

The streets of Murphys in Calaveras County will once again come alive as thousands from throughout Northern California flock to the Mother Lode region for the town’s annual Murphys Irish Day. This year’s event is set for March 19.

Main Street shop owners along with over 100 vendors will once again offer their wares as the town pays tribute to its Celtic heritage. Murphys Irish Day is hosted on the third Saturday of March each year in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland. Presented by the Murphys Business Association, proceeds from the event benefit activities funded by the association, as well as community projects.

“This is a very small town America event,” public relations volunteer Bob Reagan shared, “run entirely by volunteers who give of their time and talents.

“Murphys is a fascinating and a very friendly Gold Rush community,” he continued. “It has a wide variety of locally owned unique shops and excellent restaurants.”

The annual event begins with a pancake breakfast at the Congregational Church on the corner of Church and Algiers Street. A breakfast of ham, eggs, pancakes, juice and coffee is served from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Price of breakfast is $7 for adults and $4 for children under 10.

The Main Street affair begins at 10 a.m. and concludes at 5 p.m. and is free to the public.

The event’s popular parade begins at 11 a.m. and features plenty of entries, from musical to patriotic to community-oriented. The White Hackle Pipe Band will once again be at the lead of the Murphys Irish Day parade with over 40 entries to follow, including the Cub Scouts serving as the color guard.

“Thousands of people come to Murphys for the first time to experience Irish Day,” Reagan said. “Having discovered this special place, they return again and again throughout the year.”

Reagan also shared the care and consideration taken into selecting the 100 vendors attending the event, noting that art, photography and craft vendors must produce their own handcrafted items.

“The vendors are carefully selected by the Murphys Fire Department,” Reagan said. “They share the proceeds from booth rentals with the MBA.”

Vendor criteria is utilized for selection of vendors ensuring a unique experience for locals as well as visitors. Factory produced items made for resale are not accepted.

Attendees are not just treated to uniqueness in the way of shopping, but through a wide variety of foods as well.

Irish Day fare will include: corned beef and pulled pork sandwiches, Greek gyros, deep-fried vegetables, as well as fresh lemonade, Irish coffee and beer.

Live entertainment with an Irish theme will be featured throughout the day on two stages, as well as along Main Street. Musicians set to perform include: bagpipe music by the White Hackle Pipe and Drums, the Tommyknocker Cloggers, Sequoia, the Grover Anderson Band, Sammie Leverone, Samba Breeze, Plan B and Celtic fiddler Michael Mullen.

“There are 17 tasting rooms on Main Street pouring and selling fine Calaveras wines,” Reagan said of additional local interest for out of towners. “The town is surrounded by scenic beauty.”
Festivities go off, rain or shine, on March 19.