Greater Valley Area hosts St. Paddy’s on The River

Published 8:00 am Tuesday, March 17, 2020

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WEST POINT — Great weather was exactly what was needed on Saturday for the Greater Valley Area Chamber of Commerce needed to host a very successful St. Paddy’s Day on the River. Last year, it rained on the Saturday closest to St. Patrick’s Day, holding attendance down to around 300 people. Perfect, spring-like weather boosted the crowd to more than 800 people this year.

“We were pleased with the way everything went,” said GVACC Executive Director Carrie Royster. “I had been praying for three months for good weather, and we got it. We had a really good turnout. People enjoyed the food, the games and the live music from the stage. We had people there not just from the Greater Valley Area but from all over Chambers County, LaGrange and Opelika-Auburn.”

Four bands played from a big stage set up in West Point River Park.

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They played in two-hour sets from 3-11 p.m. and were well received by the crowd.

Children had fun riding a safe mechanical bull and playing cornhole and cup pong.

Royster said she wanted to thank the city of West Point for assigning police officers for security. The Chamber also hired a private security firm to have officers on the scene.

Food was catered on site by West Point restaurants. Several food trucks were on site as well.

Many people at River Park were dressed in green and were wearing beads and Irish derbies. All in all, it was a good day to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day a few days early.

There may not be many public gatherings of this sort for a number of months to come. Serious steps are being taken to limit gatherings due to COVID-19. A notice has been posted on the front door of the Chamber office notifying the public that the office will be closed to the public until further notice.

The next major event planned by the Chamber is the annual Education Awards Dinner set for May 6.

“I’m 99 percent sure we’re not going to be having it this year,” Royster said. “I think we will have to cancel it. It’s not realistic to postpone it to a later date, given that the school year will be coming to a close. It will be hard to get it in before summer.”

Royster said she wanted to thank everyone for turning out on Saturday and helping make St. Paddy’s Day on the River a very successful event.

“We have gotten a lot of positive feedback from it,” she said. “I think the downtown district was helped by the big turnout, too.”