by: DAVID F. ASHTON - With St. Agatha Catholic School kids holding aloft the banner, the 16th Annual St. Patricks Day Parade makes its way through Sellwood.As the Sellwood-Westmoreland 16th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Festival and Parade at St. Agatha Catholic School started, on March 15, event organizers couldn’t help believe they were blessed with the “luck o’ the Irish”, as years of rainy observances became a memory, and bright, spring-like sunshine warmed the parish campus.

For the second year, the day began with a “5K Fun Run” at 11 am, while families started queueing up for the parade.

At noon, the Clackamas Firefighters Pipes and Drum Corps played on the steps of St. Agatha Catholic Church, signaling the start of the St. Patrick's Day Parade. As in past years, the march traveled south on S.E. 15th Avenue, then west on Tacoma Street, turned north on S.E. 13th Avenue, and returned to the campus on Miller Street.

“Look at all the families coming out on this beautiful day to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day,” Publicity Chair Sherri Keepes told THE BEE. “It’s good fun for the whole family; there’s lots of stuff here for both kids and adults.”

The event is produced with “a lot” of volunteer help by the school’s “Parents in Partnership” organization, she said. “I’m glad so many people are helping out. With the beautiful weather today, I think we could see as many as 2,000 people come by during course of the day.”

Keepes and St. Agatha Catholic School Principal Jeff Delegato agreed that what they enjoyed most was watching the youngsters have fun at the carnival, inside the school gymnasium.

“While this is a major fundraiser for us,” Delegato remarked, “it’s really more about building community. Involving our neighbors and businesses in the Sellwood-Moreland community is our main goal.”

Throughout the afternoon it became clear one needn’t be Irish to enjoy the live bands, dancers, and entertainment put on by the talented students. Folks dined on authentic Irish corned beef and cabbage dinners, corned beef sandwiches, shepherd's pie, and Irish sausage rolls, while adults quaffed cold beers.

It certainly appeared that the school had again met its goal – the community did come together and had a great time.

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