Amid a state of emergency declaration from Belle Plaine Mayor Chris Meyer, those wishing to celebrate their Irish heritage as well as thos wishing they were Irish donned their green attire and celebrated Belle Plaine's St. Patrick's Day on Saturday, March 14.

Although the street celebration was called off, celebrants turned up in strong numbers for the occasion.

Miss Shamrock candidates and their families filed into the Belle Plaine Vets' Club for a scaled-down version of the annual coronation ceremony.

Guests heard from emcee Kate Fogarty and grand marshal T.C. Fogarty before the crowning.

Hayley O'Brien, the daughter of Pat and Linda O'Brien, was crowned Miss Shamrock 2020, inheriting the crown from Katie Piampiano, Miss Shamrock 2019.

Brooke McGlinchey, daughter of Ronald and Janelle McGlinchey, and Cassandra Leeper, daughter of Jeff Liebhard and Rebecca Leeper, join O'Brien as Irish Princesses.

Accompanying the 2020 Miss Shamrock candidates were five Irish lads: Will Fahey, son of Tom and Jenny Fahey; Collin Fahey, son of Matt and Missy Fahey; Zac Fogarty, son of Matt and Melanie Fogarty; Lucas O'Brien, son of Lee and Tracy O'Brien; and Luke Fogarty, son of Emmet and Karen Fogarty.

The day, which was set to kick of at noon, started slowly but picked up by evening, when guests packed into the downtown bars ahead of a statewide ban on opening bars and restaurants issued by Gov. Tim Walz.

Adding a touch of humor to the situation, an unidentified individual donned a Grinch costume and became known as "The Grinch who stole St. Patrick's Day" to those present at the de facto celebration.

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