Sunday, March 13, 2011

Irish Night at St. Mary School

Last night was the Annual Irish Night event held in Msgr. Edward Lucitt Parish Hall as has been done since 1950. A group of performers called St. Mary's Saints and Sinners creates a program, writes skits, designs sets and decides on themes and costumes and practices week after week at the local Knights of Columbus. When it is time to perform, they come out in their full glory (and not a little camp) to have fun by singing and dancing and raising money for their Parish. Dinner is served along with plentiful beer and soda, but this year they also included a Chinese Auction (dubbed an Irish Auction for the night).

History of Irish Night

I was surprised at how few people were in attendance compared to last year and two other years I was there. It seems the city also sponsored the annual St. Patrick's Day pub crawl the same night. There is a certain culture of alcohol in this predominately Irish Catholic stronghold. In September, they hold a Shamrock Festival to celebrate "halfway to St. Patrick's Day". There is usually another pub crawl around the same time with a free shuttle from pub to pub provided by the city. But, they have never overlapped before causing a reduction in attendance to another popular event.

They had also changed caterers for Irish Night, which may prove to be a change they'll want to undo. The caterers didn't offer ham and cabbage, as had been done in years past; instead they had Baked Ziti along side the roast beef and gravy. I may not be a big fan of ham and cabbage, but when I think of St. Patrick, I don't think of pasta! No cakes or pies for dessert; instead they had boxes of store bought cookies. There was plenty of coffee, but no cups, no cream, no sugar, and definitely no Sweet-n-Low. When the show's performers came out for their dinners, half the food was gone because they hadn't taken them into consideration. Previously, there had always been some set aside for the performers. When one of the performers questioned the fact that there was no beef left, the catering employee in charge (it seemed) snapped that there was nothing he could do, he couldn't create it out of thin air. That is NOT how a professional should behave. They had only about half the number of attendees and they STILL ran out of food before the performers ate? Something's wrong with that picture.

Although I enjoyed this years performance more than those previous, it's the food fiasco that stands out most in my mind. I grew up where covered dish suppers, potlucks, and picnics were a large part of the social fabric in town. To my mother, social events without food were simply not acceptable. If you had company, you offered food. If you made dinner, you made more than enough just in case someone stopped by. So, for a caterer to run short of food without even a full-house in attendance....THAT'S something I'm going to remember. (Which, of course, makes today's entry perfectly in line with my foodiness!)

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