St. Agatha’s revives its St. Patrick’s Day celebration

INCLUDES CELEBRATORY VIDEO | See why folks traveled from outer East Portland to the only early St. Patrick’s Day celebration to be found east of the river …

Even before the parade begins, families start to gather on the campus of St. Agatha Catholic School, as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival kicks off.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

Even though it’s officially celebrated on March 17 this year, after a three-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, inner Southeast Portland’s family-oriented St. Patrick’s Day celebration returned on March 11 – bigger and better than ever.

The official title is quite a mouthful – “The St. Agatha Catholic School’s Sellwood and Moreland St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival”. Even one of its main organizers, Kurt Krasneski, took a deep breath before saying it.

As the event gets underway, organizers David McLaughlin, Sarah Wilson, Patrick O’Donnell, Trista Casey, Tricia Krasneski and Kurt Krasneski, and Jesse Buttler gather for a team photo.

“This event has been a long tradition with us, going on for the last 20+ years,” Krasneski told THE BEE East Portland News, as a team of Portland Police Bureau Motorcycle Officers began to arrive.

“We welcome our friends and neighbors back, we’ve ‘turned it up’ this year, with a St. Patrick’s Day full of fun and events,” Krasneski continued.

Members of the Portland Police Bureau Motorcycle Officer Team pause for a group photo beside the historic St. Agatha Catholic School’s bell, before they mount up and provide an escort for the parade.

Eager students rush forward, carrying the banner for the parade.

Led by a police escort, the parade heads into the historic Sellwood business district.

The parade stepped off at noon, going from the St. Agatha campus past the Sellwood Community House, then west on Tacoma Street to S.E. 13th Avenue and north through old town Sellwood and on to Westmoreland, before turning east along Bybee Boulevard, then south to return to the school via S.E. Milwaukie Avenue.

Watch this video and you’ll see the Parade, Carnival and Entertainment at this great family event:

Even while the parade was still out in the community, families were arriving at the Kids’ Carnival, held in the St. Agatha gym, featuring games and a cake walk.

Outside, in the all-ages beer garden (the younger ages weren’t served alcohol!) was live music, and an Irish dance demonstrations.

As soon as it’s open, the Kids’ Carnival fills with families.

At the Carnival, Julian Archambeault plays the “Penny Pitch” game – and wins.

“New this year is our Artists and Crafters Fair; and, we’ve invited several neighborhood food trucks here to serve our guests,” Krasneski commented. “Altogether, about 75 volunteers worked for months to put this on, and we thank them for it!”

Taking time out to enjoy “street food burritos” is the Nilsson family from the Brooklyn neighborhood.

This Murray Irish Dance performer kick ups up her heels to an Irish tune.

Unlike some events, this St. Patrick’s Day Carnival isn’t a fundraiser, or just limited to church members or school students’ families, Krasnesk pointed out. “From the start, this has been created to be a community event. It’s all about ‘saying thank you’ to all of our neighbors, and all of our families in the greater East Portland area. We do this because we want to bring the community together!”

And, bring community together they did. When it was over, as many as 1,200 people had been there to enjoy the sainted day.

© 2023 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™


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