St. Patrick's fun in Dublin, but fight closes crafts fair early

DUBLIN — The first day of spring and shamrocks were showing up all over Dublin for its 45th annual Saint Patrick’s Day Festival weekend events. Unfortunately, some teenagers determined to fight showed up, too.

Dublin Police Chief Wayne Cain said a fight between two groups of teenage boys started about 3 p.m. Saturday in Stubbs Park during the St. Patrick’s Arts and Crafts Festival. A gun was apparently fired during the fight, he said.

“We had two groups of people that showed up at the arts and crafts festival that apparently had problems with each other,” Cain said. “Apparently the fight was intentional. They planned to fight at the park.”

About 10 people were involved in the fight, Cain said, and when police arrived at the scene the fighting teenagers scattered. Officers were able to arrest one individual. Cain said he did not have that person’s name Saturday night.

“The worst part was the young people running to see what was going on,” Cain said. Two women were knocked down in the rush, but they did not need medical attention.

In the interest of public safety police closed down the arts and crafts fair at 3:30 p.m., two and a half hours before it was scheduled to close. A news release from the St. Patrick’s Festival Committee said the group hopes the fight will not detract from the festival.

Prior to the fight, it was business as usual at the crafts fair. All along the meandering slopes of Stubbs Park, vendors were displaying their wares.

Whether under EZ Ups canopies or pear blossoms, items included the usual, such as jewelry and wood carvings, to the most unusual that included locally made pottery with a Zen touch, linens made with fine Irish lace and the folksy art of broom making by the Broom Brothers of Dublin.

“We learned this craft at the John C. Campbell Folk School in Brasstown, N.C.” said Ralph Donaldson one of the Broom Brothers — who are actually father and son, Dan Donaldson.

Using many different woods and grasses, the Donaldson’s make and sell traditionally crafted brooms that are both functional as well as decorative.

Not far from Stubbs Park, the sounds of “When Irish Eyes are Smiling” performed by the Dublin High School Marching band signaled that the annual Saint Patrick’s Festival Parade was under way. The route was lined with thousands of people cheering on marching bands, floats, cyclists, political hopefuls and other regalia of hometown parades.

People of all ages marched representing businesses, schools, services agencies, churches, Shriners and even veterans groups. They were filed in between numerous bands dressed in their school colors and proudly carrying their banners. And beautifully dressed up pageant winners adorned many convertibles.

Sisters Tammi White and Valerie Jackson of Dublin have attended the event nearly every year. “We love the festival and especially the way it is supported by the community,” White said.