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updated: 3/10/2014 8:59 AM

It's good to be Irish in St. Charles

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  • McNally's Traditional Irish Pub at 201 E. Main St., St. Charles.

      McNally's Traditional Irish Pub at 201 E. Main St., St. Charles.
    LAURA STOECKER | Staff Photographer


This is the week we all turn Irish, at least in St. Charles.

The best place to do that, leading up to the St. Patrick's parade on Saturday, has always been McNally's Traditional Irish Pub.

It appears McNally's manager Shay Clarke doesn't want to disappoint this week.

Considering temperatures are finally supposed to hover around a sane level, Clarke may find a lot of folks suffering from winter cabin fever clamoring around McNally's.

The St. Patrick's fun actually started last week at the pub, but those going this week might want to start Monday with an Irish Writers Night or go Wednesday night for a kilt contest and a Guinness event to raise money for local firefighters, Clarke said.

Thursday night offers music from Kevin Flynn and the Avondale Ramblers, while local rock bands do their thing Friday and Saturday nights.

Even though Saturday is the big day because of the downtown parade, Clarke said "it will surprise the socks off you" that the pub has a full day of events planned for the actual St. Patrick's Day Monday, March 17.

"For most people, a Monday is a day to go back to work, but I guarantee you we will have a pub full of the hard-core Irish on that day," Clarke said.

The pub will host an Irish Mass at 8:30 a.m. March 17 with Father Karl Langsdorf of St. Patrick Church presiding over the service. After that, it's breakfast and a day of music, featuring the O'Briens from 2 to 5 p.m.

Here's some good advice: Get your green on and get to McNally's.

Tucked away: The Special Occasions store at the corner of Wilson Street and Batavia Avenue is quite easy for women to spot because the dresses in the windows stand out for all to see.

You have to look a bit closer to realize that now there's a place for children's fashions basically in the same spot.

A new children's boutique and paper goods store in Batavia has opened beneath Special Occasions at 241 W. Wilson St. And it has a great name -- Hummingbird in a Shoebox.

The store has clothes, blankets, stuffed animals and baby accessories.

It's an interesting addition to downtown Batavia and even though it is essentially under another store, the Special Occasions storefront should lure some folks in.

Back safely: Mike Dixon will have plenty of stories to tell his friends about his experience in Ukraine with the Peace Corps. He and other corps members who fled Ukraine two weeks ago were in Washington, D.C., for briefings. But he's back home in St. Charles now on what he is calling a "45-day administrative hold" in terms of his Peace Corps work.

Now, he is watching the increasingly tense developments in Ukraine like the rest of us, through newspapers and TV coverage.

In total, Dixon mentioned in an email note, about 240 Peace Corps volunteers safely left Ukraine as a political chain of events made it unsafe for U.S. volunteers.

Dixon felt it was ironic that, in the beginning of his service in Ukraine, volunteers were informed by the Peace Corps security staff that travel to Moldova should not be considered because it is a dangerous country.

"But it became our country of safety in the end," Dixon said. "All things are relative."

Legos galore: If you have kids who are really enamored with Legos, especially after the popular Lego movie came out, you need to make sure to stop by the Geneva History Center between noon and 4 p.m. Sunday.

It's the last chance to see the Northern Illinois Train Club's Lego display, with impressive Lego buildings and a running Lego train.

Grocery spree all-stars: Food pantries in Aurora and Batavia should be pleased that Batavia Mayor Jeff Schielke knows his way around one of his city's major grocery stores.

Schielke raced through the aisles of the Jewel-Osco in Batavia recently to collect groceries during a 5-minute shopping spree to help the Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry and the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry in Aurora.

Schielke and State Rep. Stephanie Kifowit participated in the event in which the two collected groceries that the Kane County Farm Bureau in turn purchased for the pantries. The two collected more than $2,500 in groceries.

Afterward, Schielke told farm bureau representatives that it helped that he shops in that store and has known its layout since being part of the ribbon-cutting grand opening in 1990.

Kifowit revealed an aspect of her strategy as well, saying she would grab two stacked cans right in the middle of her grip so as to nab both items at the same time.

Cultural arts a winner: The Geneva Cultural Arts Commission knew it had to come up with something to replace the "Dancing With the Geneva Stars" event that had a five-year fundraising run. The commission came up with the "Eat Your Art Out" event two weeks ago.

That event, held at the Herrington Inn, featured dinner, wine tasting, an art auction and silent auction. It raised $12,000.

So the commission had a sigh of relief in knowing it came up with something that could replace the dancing event, while continuing to focus clearly on the arts.

Batavia's turn: This week, Batavia is offering Restaurant Madness, the city's official restaurant week. Take a look at the site to get details and, best of all, 25 percent off your bill at participating restaurants.

A crazy reminder: Someone mentioned another cold reality about this year. He told me he is almost certain he was mowing his lawn last March.

Maybe next year, when it is 70 degrees at this time of year, he can say he is almost certain he was shoveling snow last March.

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