This year’s St. Paddy’s Street Party includes a 5K fun run

By David Slone

And food, drinks, games, music, as well as a 5K.

The sixth annual event starts at 3 p.m. and goes until 10 p.m. on Buffalo Street between East Center and Main streets downtown Warsaw, according to Jason Brown, owner of The Vic and One-Ten Craft Meatery and an event organizer and founder.

New this year, Candace Balke, director of operations for the restaurants, said Go Rogue Warsaw will be putting on a 5K Fun Run called Shamrock Shimmy. Registration will be from 2 to 2:30 p.m. March 16, with the race starting at 3 p.m. The race begins and ends at the tent on Buffalo Street.

Brown said, “Like always, every year, we get more and more vendors to partake and join this awesome party. When we first started, the first year, it was just us and The Diner was a part that year, back when Brian owned it, and I think Mad Anthony’s was a part of it that first year.”

This year, vendors have grown to include B+B Market, The Diner, HopLore, Ledgeview, Mad Anthony’s, Shawnanigan’s “and that’s just on the food and vendor side,” he said.

Brown said they have so much support now for the event from the local community, from the restaurants to WRSW, Main Street Warsaw, G & G Hauling & Excavating, Warsaw Party & Rental, First Federal Savings Bank, Moving Pictures Tattoo Cinema, OrthoWorx, Travis J. McConnell Law Office, The Bailey Moore Foundation, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce and The Lab.

Main sponsors include Lake City Bank, Maple Leaf Farms and Silveus Insurance.

“So the local community has really just dove in behind this and said it’s something that we want, something that the city needs. Even the city has really been in wonderful support of it. The city has done everything in its power to help us be able to accomplish what we’re doing, and it’s been really beautiful to see over the last six years,” Brown said.

Everything about St. Paddy’s Street Party is done through tickets. It’s $5 to enter the event. At the same table where one pays to enter the tent, a person is able to buy food and drink tickets for $8 each. Each ticket will get the purchaser either a food or a drink item from any of the vendors.

“You don’t have to carry cash with you. We take credit card, cash at the ticket counters and then you just hand the ticket to the vendor and they hand you their lovely offering,” he explained.

Food and drink will include everything from Irish cuisine to green beer, Irish beverages, Jell-O shots, soup and corned beef.

“If you imagine that it should be at a St. Paddy’s Day party, it’ll be there,” he said.
And, yes, that includes a leprechaun.

“We actually have a leprechaun mascot this year that’s going to be running around, having a heyday with the kids and the adults that are enjoying the libations,” Brown said. “So stop by and take a picture with our local leprechaun.”

As it has been in the past, the event is family friendly.

Balke said, “We’ll have kids’ activities. Moving Pictures Tattoo Cinema is doing face painting. Glam is going to be providing a photo booth.”

There will be corn hole, Connect 4 and other yard games.

Two live bands will be performing throughout the night, she said. Shiny Shiny Black, having played the last two St. Paddy’s Day events, will be returning. “I’m happy to have them back.”

The other band, Bee! the Band, is new to the event.

“It’s just going to be the sixth annual bash that we throw every year,” Brown said. “In years past, we’ve had upwards of a thousand people partake in this experience with us, and it’s just a heck of a time in downtown Warsaw.”

The event will be held regardless of weather conditions. As of Thursday, Brown said the weather is looking like it will cooperate on March 16 and he hopes that it holds out.

“In the event that it doesn’t, we always have a Plan B where we kind of tighten the ship a little bit and then we have heaters, propane heaters and bon fires and that kind of stuff to keep our patrons warm. Our leprechaun is going to work regardless,” he said.

Years ago, St. Paddy’s Street Party started out as an idea that One-Ten put together and it was basically just them.

“And now, it’s not just us. Now it’s a team, it’s a community, it’s literally so many people. When we reach out to them and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to throw this together,’ they go, ‘We’re behind you. What are you going to need?’” Brown stated.

As for why it’s important to have the event downtown Warsaw, he replied, “I think the big thing there … there’s a heart and soul of what makes Warsaw, Warsaw, and the downtown is a big piece of that. And there’s some really, really wonderful people and businesses that are committed to growing the downtown and we’re one of them, and then we have people who are supporting us, so keeping it downtown is really, really important for us because we are the heart and soul of Warsaw, and we want to showcase what downtown can be – whether that’s the other vendors, or the collaboration or event just the beauty of downtown.”

Warsaw is the county seat of Kosciusko County and it has a beautiful downtown, he said.

“Why would you do it anywhere else?”

Even though law enforcement will be on hand, in their sixth years of having the event, Brown said they have never had a problem.

“This probably speaks to the beauty of what Warsaw is as a whole, is that Warsaw as a whole is just very responsible and respectful. We know how to go out and have a good time and not cause an issue, and I think this really shows that Warsaw has that characteristic because we’ve done this for six years and not once have we actually needed the cops,” he said.

Brown said whether 25 people show up or 1,000, “we just want the people that come down to have a good time, and that’s our job. If we can throw a party and somebody leaves and goes, ‘Man, I can’t believe that was in Warsaw,’ that’s a win for us, no matter how many people attend. It’s not about numbers, it’s not about dollars, it’s just about doing what’s right for the community.”