MCCARTYVILLE — St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland whose death on March 17, 460 A.D. is celebrated on St. Patrick’s Day each year around the nation, is perhaps is no better known and celebrated in southwestern Ohio than in two small, rural towns in Shelby County.
The towns of St. Patrick and McCartyville emerged when Irish settlers came to the area to help build the Miami and Erie Canal. Unlike the German who made up much of Ohio’s early settlers, the Irish migrated to the region, sharing the same Irish Catholic church, which was founded in 1862.
Aptly named St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, the original church was built from logs in 1863, and was later replaced by a wooden frame building in 1871. By 1910, the church’s parishioners had outgrown their place of worship. So, in that year, a brick building with a gabled, tile roof and a bell tower was constructed in the 19th century’s “Neo-Renaissance” Italianate style, perhaps following the lead of Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine neighborhood, which contains perhaps the largest number of Italianette buildings in the country. This church, located in Turtle Creek Township at the crossroads of Hoying and Wright-Puthoff, was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, but it subsequently torn down in 2001.
Over the past 39 years, McCartyville has been hosting their annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and town-wide celebration.
Each year, there is a special theme for its grand master selection and invited special guests.
For those looking for St Patrick’s Day activities, this year McCartyville will behosting a special three-day celebration that will not only honor St. Patrick but also the 50th anniversary of the first high school baseball State Championship won by Anna High School.
On March 17, a sing a long will be held at Patrick’s Pub & Grill starting at 7 p.m.
On March 18, beginning at 5 p.m., the McCartyville Sacred Heart Parish Activity Center (PAC) will be hosting a fish fry through the Knights of Columbus, for either dine-in or carry out. The activities move to Patrick’s Pub & Grill at 7 p.m., when there will be a toast to the parade queen, Hannah Albers.
Ron Albers is in the unique position to have two parade queens in the family: his wife, Chris, and now his daughter, Hannah.
”I’ve been to every St. Patrick’s day for the past 25 years, but I guess I never expected to be in this position … I’m surprised and a little bit nervous about people staring at me for three days straight, but I’m excited to do it,” said Albers. “In fact, my mom was one of the first people to start this tradition and now its in its 39th year. The fact it’s still happening and involving the original people is really cool. It’s a really tiny village, so to be part of it is a pretty big honor.”
Albers is a 2019 graduate of Ohio State University in Columbus, who majored in AgBusiness, and works for Central State University as a 4-H Youth Developer. She says she’s been with her boyfriend Dalton Wals for more than four years. The two met while they were at OSU’s Agricultural Tech Institution (ATI), located in Wooster. “He’s very excited for this whole thing. I’m hoping at some point in the future I’ll have what my parents have had: getting married, having a big family, and being part of the community.”
Activities then shift back to the PAC, where, at 7:30 p.m, there will be a parade queen crowning ceremony, an announcement of the “green lights,” shamrocks, and “all things St. Patrick’s day” competitive house decorating contest winners (with cash prizes sponsored by local businesses), and a special recognition of the Parade grand marshalls. To close out the evening, at 9 p.m. the PAC will be offering music and activities until midnight.
On March 19, an Irish Jog (a 5K walk-jog-run event) will kick off the day’s activities at 11 a.m., as runner begin at St. Patrick’s Pub & Grill and race to McCartyville. The McCartyville St. Patrick’s Day Parade is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m., and afterwards Patrick’s Pub & Grill and other locations around town will be hosting music, drinks, and fun activities for the rest of the day. Also after the parade, there will be a benefit put-put outing that starts at the PAC and moves through town with holes at various residences and businesses throughout town. The Little Miss Shamrock Queen Pageant will also be held at the PAC beginning at 3 p.m.
According to Dave Peppelman, this year, special guests will be invited in honor of the 50th anniversary of Anna High School’s first state championship baseball game in 1972, and this team was selected for the Parade Grand Marshall. Three players from McCartyville were standouts on Anna High School’s baseball teams over the years. Pitcher Tom Frilling (now passed), was a member of this 1972 honored team. Two of his brothers, Mike (1968 state champion runners-up), and Pat (1980 state championship) will be present. Additional guests from the 1972 team include Stan Crosley, who hit two home runs in one inning in the semifinal game, and Tom Middleton, who was the 1972 winning team’s baseball coach.
Committee Chairman, Larry Huecker said, “There’s two times a year we have good music: Christmas and St. Patrick’s Day. One and all are invited to join in the fun.”