BY ANDREW SMITH
LISTOWEL – The events for Paddyfest 2013 are just around the corner, and this year the Listowel Kinsmen are going the extra yard, literally.
Listowel Kinsmen president Jay Hutchison said the March 2 kickoff for the annual Irish festival is taking a unique twist this year, a spin-off from last year’s football-themed launch.
“Last year we kicked a football to officially kick off Paddyfest,” he said. “For 2013, we thought since we’re already kicking a football, why not have a mock football game to get things going.”
Of course, with any football contest, an opposing team is required. With that in mind, Hutchison said a challenge was issued to the members of North Perth council.
“Since Paddyfest involves the whole community, we wanted someone to represent the municipality, and who better than the leaders of the municipality,” he said.
Challenge accepted, said Mayor Julie Behrns, who is looking forward to getting the town in the Irish spirit and breaking out of the winter blahs.
“Hopefully it gets the town in the right mood for Paddyfest,” she said. “We need something to be happy about when you live in Canada and you’ve had a few snowstorms in recent weeks.”
Behrns said the rest of council is just as enthusiastic about the match, and showing their support for one of North Perth’s largest events of the year.
“When I sent out the email, I had replies back almost immediately that they would certainly be willing to take part,” Behrns said. “I think they recognize how much the entire Kin Family does for our municipality, and this is just a way for us to throw our support behind them.”
Hutchison is encouraged by council’s response, and is already sizing up the competition in anticipation of game day this Saturday at 11 a.m. on the John Bell Diamond in Memorial Park.
“It’s good to see their Paddyfest and community spirit,” he said. “I predict it will be a close game, with the Kinsmen victorious,” he said.
Ever the diplomat, Behrns reminds both sides that the match is intended to be a fun event with minimal bruising.
“We will remind them prior to the game that this is a friendly match, and we’ll go from there,” she said.
Hutchison said he’s excited for another year of Paddyfest events, and the March 2 is just the start of a fun-filled schedule.
“It’s going to be an exciting Paddyfest,” Hutchison said. “It’s going to be a busy two weeks, hopefully there’s something for everyone to enjoy.”
For a full list of Paddyfest events, visit paddyfest.ca.