Kilkenny’s 1st Half-Way to St. Paddy’s Day event is Saturday

St. Patrick’s Day--for the Irish and those who are only Irish at heart--is a day to celebrate, but the City of Kilkenny, Minnesota, population 150, is hoping Irish lovers will be up for a pre-party this Saturday. 
Kilkenny is hosting the first annual Half-Way to St. Paddy’s Day Community Celebration, starting with a 5K Fun Run/Walk at 8 a.m. on Saturday, September 21. There will also be a parade, a craft and vendor show, bands lined up for an entertainment stage, fireworks, dancing, and toilet bowl races. 
Yes, toilet bowl races. 
According to Kilkenny, MN, Mayor Kevin Taaffe, a few locals started racing toilet bowls on wheels in the late 80s.
“It’s something different, plus it’s fun,” Taaffe laughed.
Taaffe and his Ireland counterpart, Martin Brett, Mayor of Kilkenny, Ireland, will take part in the 11 a.m. parade and share a few insights to the cities’ new twinning agreement. 
“This will be the first time a sitting mayor of Kilkenny, Ireland, visits Kilkenny, Minnesota,” Taaffe stated. “We have arranged for him to stay here with residents a couple of nights. He’s excited to be part of the first Half-Way to St. Paddy’s Day.” 
Taaffe and his wife, Angela, traveled to Ireland in March 2013 as honorary guests of the City of Kilkenny, Ireland, just in time to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. 
Soon after, the only two Kilkennys in the world formed a “twinning agreement,” which formally acknowledges the cities’ friendship and desire to promote each other... which seems to be working. 
While in Ireland, Kilkenny, Minnesota’s Mayor Taaffe was featured on a popular late night television show. 
While in Minnesota, Kilkenny, Ireland’s Mayor Brett and Taaffe will be special guests at the Sept. 19th Irish American Business Network meeting in St. Paul. 
And, of course, the two Kilkenny mayors will be highlighted Saturday in the Half-Way to St. Paddy’s Day Celebration in downtown Kilkenny, Minnesota. 
“It has been a good thing for both Kilkennys,” stated Taaffe. “We--Kilkenny, Minnesota--want people to know we are still here. After 20 years of basically zero growth, we are finally joining together to draw attention to Kilkenny. We want to get back on the map. This is a nice place to live.” 
By all accounts, Kilkenny’s new St. Patrick’s pre-party idea has managed to attract attention. Seventy-one people have preregistered for the 5K. That is nearly half of the town’s population. 
“It should be fun,” Taaffe said. “Come out, experience Kilkenny, and have a good time. Kilkenny is moving forward. Come celebrate with us.” 

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