Page 5 - St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017
P. 5

March 4, 2017
Once again, I am privileged to welcome everyone to Alexandria for the 36th annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade. As the elected Chairman of the Ballyshaners, I am honored to serve, on behalf of all the members, as the host for today’s festivities.
The Ballyshaners—from the Irish language words for “Old” and “Town,” representing our focus on Old Town Alexandria—are a dedicated group of volunteers, all unpaid, who wish to see Irish heritage celebrated throughout Alexandria. Today’s events are the culmination of many months of efforts by a great many individuals working together as a team.
We are proud to be one of the first parades in the United States in the month of March, celebrated as Irish-American Hertitage Month. That designation has been decreed by the President of the United States since 1991.
Here in Alexandria, Mayor Silberberg and the City Council have also made such a proclamation. It is our honor to be the group tasked with organzing an event worthy of the significance proclaimed by those highest levels of government.
Our Grand Marshals this year are Karen and Bill Butcher. As the founders of Port City Brewing Company, Karen and
Bill have helped to establish Northern Virginia, and Alexandria in particular, as a prominent hub of the craft beer scene. They have produced award-winning beers, and have been recognized by Virginia Governor Terry McAullife as innovative business owners and job creators. Their company has been a long time participant in our Parade, and we are very pleased to have them serve as our 2017 Grand Marshals. And on a personal note, I am a big fan of their products. It was our pleasure to officially install them as Grand Marshals at a gala dinner just last night.
Saint Patrick’s Day is obviously an Irish holiday. However, the Ballyshaners welcome participants and spectators from all backgrounds to our community event. We are grateful to all the varied groups which have chosen to march in today’s Parade. We welcome not only our Irish-themed units, but those of all
nationalities. Our focus for today is on our Irish heritage, but we salute all of
those who make up the diverse and vibrant community that is Alexandria.
If you enjoy all the events of Parade Day, including the Fun Dog Show on Market Square and the Classic Car Show on North Pitt Street, please think about joining the Ballyshaners. We are always looking for fresh ideas and new talents to help us make events like today’s memorable for all the citizens of Alexandria. If you are unable to participate personally, please consider making a donation to The Ballyshaners. We are a registered 501(c)(3) non- profit charitable organization.
After the Parade, and in the weeks and months ahead, please take full advantage of all that Alexandria has to offer. Most especially, please make an effort to support the sponsors advertising in this magazine. We could not have put today’s event on without their help.
Thanks for coming out today. Putting this event on has been our pleasure!
P.O. Box 320722, Alexandria, VA 22320-4722

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