Harvest Market hosts St. Patrick’s Day lunch and Irish jig event

by Delaney Appelhans

This year in celebration of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday, Harvest Market on Neil Street hosted a lunchtime event featuring live, traditional irish dancing performed by dancers from the Shamrock Academy of Irish Dance in Mahomet.

The grocery store’s hot food section served classic Irish dishes such as beef shepard pie and bangers and mash to customers while the dancers from the Shamrock Academy of Irish Dance performed at the storefront.

Customers who were at the store to shop for groceries watched as they shopped, while many chose to stop for their traditional Irish lunch and enjoy the performance.

The event was an open opportunity for community members to celebrate the St. Patrick’s Day holiday; a stark difference from last year, when the community was on lockdown in the beginning days of the coronavirus outbreak.

While the event was held indoors, customers and performers remained socially distant and wore masks throughout the entirety of the event. The Shamrock Academy of Irish Dance has had several in-person and virtual performances this season, but this was the first event that they were able to have indoors thus far this year.

Sue Barlow, mother of one of the Irish dancers, explained that this is also the first performance all of the levels from the academy have been able to come together.

“The girls have been, I guess their morale has been really boosted just to have everyone [be able to] come together,” said Barlow.

Donna Wright, coordinator, said the event was a great opportunity to get community members out of their homes to enjoy the holiday while still following COVID-19 safety guidelines.

“It was so much fun to see all of the… everybody’s reactions to the girls dancing, especially the little kids. There were a lot of little kids just kind of watching and you know their mouths were dropped open, even though they had their masks on, because their eyes were just glued to the [dancers],” said Wright, “We felt the energy of the girls dancing.”