TOPEKA, Kan. – Even though Topeka’s Irish Fest has been pushed back to September, some people met Saturday to celebrate their Irish heritage and celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day in a pandemic-friendly way.
Masked up and socially distanced people celebrated the Irish in them at Mater Dei Catholic Parish.
“We just kind of wanted to get together and to be able to have a small celebration but definitely a COVID-friendly type of idea,” said Jodi Spindler, who serves on the Topeka Irish Fest Committee.
“We just kind of wanted to get together and to be able to have a small celebration but definitely a COVID-friendly type of idea.”
Guests celebrated with bangers and mash, Irish stew and Blind Tiger Beer.
People had the option to dine in during specific times or take orders to-go.
Celebrating the holiday held special meaning to some guests.
“She finally got out of the nursing home and this is her first Saint Patrick’s Day with me, together, sitting next to each other and enjoying each other’s company,” said Alice Harnisch about her mother.
“This is the first holiday we’ve been able to sit together since 2019 without sitting outside a window!”
“I think it was more important this year than any year because of the way COVID has shut everything down,” added Tim Cochran, a Mater Dei parishioner.
“Especially since last year nothing happened and they need all the support they can get to do what they need to do.”
Regardless of the style of celebrations, Spindler said Irish culture is a special way people can bond.
“I think everybody likes to drink a good beer eat some wonderful food you only get maybe around Saint Patrick’s Day it’s a wonderful day, a wonderful culture and a wonderful place to celebrate.”
There is still time to participate in the virtual Irish Fest 5K.
The full Irish Fest Celebration is planned for September 18th with a parade, live music and will be branded as “Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day”.