Irish turn out for St. Patrick’s Day

NEW ULM – While the temperature flirted with 80 degrees last year, the air temperature in the upper 20s and wind chill were far from that on Sunday as the 48th Annual New Ulm St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Minnesota Street drew its usual spirited interest.

“No matter the weather, I think just about every single person turned out, even though it was on a Sunday this year,” said Tom Donnelly, who, with Terry Dempsey, has attended every St. Patrick’s Day Parade since the event began in New Ulm in the 1960s.

“It’s always a great celebration. It’s important to us. A good time will be had by all,” Donnelly said.

Dempsey said his bare hands were a little cold as he neared the end of the parade route, near the Glockenspiel. He threw his remaining pieces of candy to nearby children.

“It’s cold, but I remember parades in the 1960s when it was snowing and I was colder,” Dempsey said. “We’ve got to stop giving the Germans control of the weather.”

This year, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers bestowed the honor of Grand Marshal on Jeff Connell. They crowned Dr. Kellie Newman as the Irish Eyes Smiling Queen.

New Ulm Police provided traffic control and led the parade followed by the Honor Guard, Concord Singers, royalty, the Irish, and large green tractors.

Adult parade participants met at the Gathering of the Clans Banquet at Don’s Pub (known the rest of the year as the Kaiserhoff restaurant) for Irish music, merriment, food and beverages.

The event was organized 48 years ago by three local attorneys of Irish descent – Tom Donnelly and Terry Dempsey and the late Bill O’Connor, whose son Dan is helping continue the parade tradition.

(Fritz Busch can be e-mailed at

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