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Luverne to celebrate St. Patrick's Day today

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LUVERNE -- The Irish and Irish wannabes will be clad in shades of green today in honor of St. Patrick, one of the patron saints of Ireland. But did you know St. Patrick is actually associated with the color blue?

According to Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, green likely became the official color of attire due to the phrase "the wearing of the green," which meant that a person had a green shamrock attached to his or her clothing. The shamrock, according to legend, was used to explain the Holy Trinity to the pre-Christian Irish.

A public holiday since 1903, St. Patrick's Day will be celebrated in communities large and small around the world today. Close to home, Luverne will host its annual parade at 4 p.m. on Main Street.

Organizer Amy Vande Voort said she's hoping for good attendance -- both in the parade and those who come to watch. There was no pre-registration required, so anyone who shows up at the Sears and Furniture House parking lot at 3:45 p.m. will be able to join in the parade.

"It's just kind of whoever shows up," said Vande Voort, adding that the Luverne Fire Department will have a few trucks in the parade, as well as several businesses and individuals.

St. Patrick's Day royalty will be featured in the parade, with Pete and Chantel Connell chosen as the King and Queen of the Leprechauns respectively. Junior Royalty includes siblings Jack, Claire and Peter Baustian. All of the royalty members are of Irish heritage.

The parade will travel down Main Street from Sears to Freeman Street, just west of the Palace Theatre.

If the weather is nice -- and it sounds like it will be -- Vande Voort said there may be some classic cars rolling through the parade route as well.

"Last year we had 17 entries. My goal every year is to have a parade that's a minute longer," Vande Voort said with a laugh. "A lot of it depends on the weather."

Vande Voort, president of the Eagles Club Auxiliary, has organized the parade for the last three years. In addition, the Auxiliary will sponsor a Rueben feed at the Eagles Club from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. tonight. On the menu are Rueben sandwiches and fries, although if people don't want a Rueben, they can order a hamburger or pizza instead. Of course, there will be plenty of green beer.

"It's just kind of an excuse to celebrate St. Patrick's Day and wear some green," said Vande Voort of the event. "It's fun."

For the first time in several years, Adrian will not be hosting a St. Patrick's Day parade this year. Cindy Vortherms, who has organized the event in the past, said "everybody just kind of forgot about it" this year.

Adrian's St. Patrick's Day parade was started back in the 1970s, and there was one other year they didn't have a parade, she said.

Julie Buntjer

Julie Buntjer joined the Globe newsroom in December 2003, after working more than nine years for weekly newspapers. A native of Worthington, she has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism. Find more of her stories of farm life, family and various other tidbits at

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