Photo by Johnny Jackson
Gritz Family Restaurant server, Jennifer Register (from left), and owner, Greg Berkes, will serve green grits, Saturday, as part of a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the eatery. Several local businesses will commemorate the Irish-themed occasion with specials and discounts.
Everything from green beer to green grits, green cupcakes and green corsages, will be on display in stores and businesses, Saturday, throughout the Southern Crescent area, in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.
All kinds of restaurant specials, and other events are scheduled to commemorate the annual holiday.
Father James Flanagan, of St. James the Apostle Catholic Church, in McDonough, reminded parishioners in a recent pastoral column, that the Irish have observed St. Patrick ‘s Day as a religious holiday for more than 1,000 years, to honor one of the “patrons of Ireland.” St. Patrick lived from 387, to 493.
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17, the saint's religious feast day and the anniversary of his death.
According to Father Flanagan, St. Patrick was taken into captivity when he was only 16 years old and served as a slave for six years on the “Emerald Isle. He returned to Gaul (modern-day France) and was introduced to monasticism in Tours, site of the popular monastery founded by St. Martin — a near relative of Patrick’s mother, Conchessa,” Father Flanagan said. “Patrick caught the attention of Pope Celestine I, who specifically commissioned him to return to Ireland in an attempt to convert the people there ...
“We are having a St. Patrick’s Day party at the church on Saturday,” said Father Flanagan. “It starts at 6 p.m., and includes music, and dancing. We will be honoring St. Patrick by opening the St. Patrick’s Day party ... reciting the prayer of ‘St. Patrick’s breastplate’ attributed to him,” said Father Flanagan.
“The prayer is a beautiful reminder of the importance of having our Lord Jesus Christ as the integrating factor in every facet of our lives,” he said.
“The green beer is fine,” he said. “However, on St. Patrick’s day, I would like for people to remember the selfless love of this bishop who brought Christ to the people of Ireland.”
Over the years, celebrations in honor of the Irish saint have been widespread. Even so, no parades of any kind have been announced in Henry County, or Clayton County. Actually, many Irish residents in the Southern Crescent area often travel to Savannah, Ga., where an estimated 400,000 people participate in one of the nation’s largest St. Patrick’s Day observances.
In the Southern Crescent, there are some festive celebrations, too, but on a smaller scale. At the French Market restaurant, in Locust Grove, for example, there will be an adults-only party, in which the restaurant will transform itself into the “French Market After Dark St. Paddy’s Edition.” It will open at 11 a.m., and change into a nightclub at night.
There will be green beer and an after-dark menu of corned beef and cabbage, a disc jockey, and dancing from 9:30 p.m., until 2 a.m. There will be a cover charge of $5, and attendees must be 21, or older.
In family-oriented activities elsewhere in Henry County, a group of 25 merchants on the McDonough Square are participating in an event called the “St. Patty’s Day Crawl.” Patrons are urged to stroll from merchant to merchant and find a variety of specials.
For example, at the restaurant, Season Bistro, owner Lynn Logan, who is the organizer of the event, will feature a “St. Patrick Reuben slider and a drafty kilt” combo for $5.
Elsewhere on The Square, Paul Gaffney, owner of PJ’s Cafe, and a second-generation Irishman, will have an offering of Irish stew and shepherd’s pie, on his eatery’s menu. He said he plans to give away hats, beads and T-shirts.
At a cupcake shop called “Bliss,” there will be Irish cream cupcakes for $1.95 each. Next door at the Party Time novelty store, which is decorated in a St. Patrick’s Day theme, owner Katherine Yancey said all items will be 25 percent off.
Hints of the Irish will be on display at Chevy’s Diner, owned by Neil Daniel and his wife, Erica. They said “The St. Patty’s Day Crawl” aims to promote the City of McDonough, and its Irish name.
“Our staff will be dressed in green, and we will have draft, green beer,” said Neil Daniel. There will be a $3 special on any Jailhouse Brewing Company beer. Live entertainment will be provided. The diner will be open from 11 a.m., until 10 p.m. Down the street, the Gritz Family Restaurant, will be open 7 a.m., until 3 p.m., and one of its specials is green grits for $1.50, said owner Greg Berkes.
And, at a florist shop on The Square, Blumen Trio, owner Bob Knowles is featuring green corsages for $1.99 each.
Participating merchants include: All-State Insurance, Bliss, Blumen Trio, Brews Cruise, Buddy Kelley Realtors, Chevy’s Diner, D. W. Smith Design, Emily’s Attic, Gritz, Hot Shots Paintball, La Di Da’s, Main Street Program, Jea Gackowski, Moye’s Pharmacy and Thompson’s Market, On the Square Jewelers, Party Time, Pasta Max Cafe, Scarlett’s Retreat, Secret Garden, Sign-A-Rama, The Seasons Bistro, This is You Studios, Truly Yours, and Winsor Gallery.
–– Staff writers Jason A. Smith and Johnny Jackson contributed to this article.