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St. Patrick's Association Web Site
A Non-Profit Volunteer Organization
MARCH 12, 17, 18 & 19, 2000
St. Patrick's Association
1001 - Broadway
Emmetsburg, Iowa 50536

Grand Marshals, Honorary Irishman
Named For 2000 St. Pat's Celebration

Our Thanks to Emmetsburg Publishing Co. for providing this Information!!!

   A pair of long-time St. Patrick's Day Celebration supporters have been chosen to serve as the co-Grand Marshals of the 2000 St. Patrick's Day Celebration and Parade on March 18. In addition, the Honorary Irishman of the celebration  has been selected following action by the St. Pat's Organizing Committee late last week.

    Art Weiland and Liz Culligan will serve as the co-Grand Marshals, in recognition of their years of service to the St. Pat's celebration. Jane Whitmore, Editor of The Reporter and The Democrat newspapers in Emmetsburg, has been chosen as the Honorary Irishman for the celebration. In their official dignitary roles, Whitmore, Culligan and Weiland will participate in many of the events that comprise Emmetsburg's annual St. Pat's Celebration. Beginning with the Little Miss Shamrock and the Miss Shamrock Pageants, running through the St. Patrick's Day Parade on March 18, where they will ride in the parade and view the festivities from the dignitaries' reviewing stand, before being honored at the annual Banquet that evening at the VFW Post Hall.

     Jane Whitmore was selected as the Honorary Irishman by past and present members of the St. Pat's Association Board of Directors. Liz Culligan and Art Weiland were both selected on the basis of nominations received by the St. Pat's Association Board.

Co-Grand Marshals
     The selection of Liz Culligan and Art Weiland as co-Grand Marshals is only the second time in the history of the St. Pat's Celebration that active members of the Association's Board of Directors have been chosen for the honor.

     Both Culligan and Weiland have become almost synonymous with the annual celebration. Liz Culligan has served in various capacities for the Association since 1970, when she first became involved in the activities of the group.

     "I remember John McCain asked me one day, 'Can you write?' and I answered back, 'Yes, I can write a sentence," Culligan recalled. "He told me that was good enough and that I was in charge of publicity for the celebration, and its grown from then on.  I've loved it ever since."

     Since that beginning association, Culligan has risen through the ranks to the role of the Association's Secretary, or "Mother Superior", as she is referred to by the group's members. She has held that role since 1987. In 30 years, Culligan admits the celebration has changed from its early, prank-filled days. "Really, when you think about how this all started as a bunch of fun and nonsense and see how it has snowballed. We were all a lot younger and crazier in those early days, too," Culligan laughed. "There really hasn't been any one celebration more memorable than any other, but you just have to marvel at how it has grown and will continue to grow." The celebration has grown since those first days and now Culligan sees it continuing that change. "I see St. Pat's becoming more of a Homecoming for our community. It's a chance for our children to come home, to keep the sense of family alive. It's also a great way for the younger children to learn more about their Irish heritage and they really do enjoy learning about St. Patrick and Ireland."

     In being selected as the co-Grand Marshal, Culligan admits that the shock and realization of the honor hadn't really set in as of Friday morning. "Right now, I'm still in a state of disbelief and wonderment, I guess," Culligan admitted. "But, I'm really looking forward to the whole celebration that much more."

     Art Weiland also admitted the honor of being named co-Grand Marshal hadn't really set in for him, either, but he was certainly going to enjoy it. "Here I am, a German without a drop of Irish blood in me, but I married an Irish gal and that did it for me," Weiland noted.

     Over the years, Weiland has been responsible for lining up the Irish dignitary that visits Emmetsburg  for the week of the St. Pat's Celebration. Through the years, the procedure of selecting the dignitary has changed very little, but has been an education for Weiland. "Over the year's I've worked very closely with the U.S. State Department and the Irish Consulate in Chicago and they've been very helpful in making arrangements for the dignitaries to visit."

     While lining up the dignitaries might seem to be a gargantuan task, Weiland dismisses that notion. "I got the job because I had the time and desire to do it because it was something you could do and see results coming from it. Plus, no one else would step in and take it on."

     In his tenure as the Dignitary Chair, Art and his wife Mary traveled to Ireland in 1981, where they were able to visit the Irish Parliament and meet many of the 144 members of the House. Many of those Irish lawmakers met during that visit have come to Emmetsburg as guest dignitaries. However, Weiland remembers one Irish lawmaker who came to Emmetsburg twice. "Jarrod Collins was here in Emmetsburg in 1974 and 1993 and I remember he was a great orator," Weiland noted. "He truly liked this community and area and told me more than once that if he could have a second home, he would want it to be in Emmetsburg. He is no longer in the Irish Parliament, but he is now representing Ireland in the European Parliament."

     Like his co-Grand Marshal, who also happens to be his sister-in-law, Weiland sees the St. Pat's Celebration changing with the times. "As time goes on, I see St. Pat's becoming more of a reunion for those who have left here. It gives them a chance to come home and keep their sense of family and their Irish heritage alive."

     For Weiland, there is another reason for his devotion to the St. Pat's Association. "It still gives me something to do and besides, I say if you can't have fun doing something, then why do it? I'm still having fun and plan to for a long time to come."

Honorary Irishman
     Jane Whitmore of Emmetsburg has been somewhat of a fixture in the annual St. Patrick's Day Celebration for over 20 years, in her tenure as a reporter and currently as editor of the community's newspapers, The Reporter and The Democrat. Her early associations with the St. Pat's Board included coverage of several important milestones in the celebration's history.

     However, being named the Honorary Irishman puts Whitmore in somewhat of a dilemma. First, Whitmore claims Czech heritage, rather than Irish and perhaps most importantly, she can't be an Irishman. Therefore, the St. Pat's Association Board is working feverishly on obtaining authentic Kolaches, in honor of Whitmore's ancestry, but with a suitable Irish coloring for the pastries.

     "I'm very honored and excited to be selected as the Honorary Irishman," Whitmore noted. "It will be different to not be behind the camera on St. Pat's and be on the other side, but I'm sure I'll enjoy it." A native of West Bend, Whitmore has a son, Jeremy, who, with his wife Jenny and daughters Samantha and Nicole, live in Maryland.

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