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18 stews, step dancers, fun and blarney and 21st annual Irish Stew Cook-off March 12



Dressing up in 40 shades of green and wearing zany hats and beards is all part of the fun at the annual Irish Stew Cook-off, which will be held in St. Stephen Hall March. 12. —Photo courtesy of John Yeager

Dressing up in 40 shades of green and wearing zany hats and beards is all part of the fun at the annual Irish Stew Cook-off, which will be held in St. Stephen Hall March. 12. —Photo courtesy of John Yeager

Time to be Irish again and wear your finest and most outrageous Gaelic getups for the only Irish Stew Cook-off in San Diego County.

The 21st annual Irish Stew Cook-off— a huge event—will be held Thursday, March 12, 5:30–8 p.m. at St Stephen’s community hall located at 31020 Cole Grade Road in Valley Center, located near the high school.

For 21 years now, Kathleen McKewan, founder of the VC Irish Stew Cook-off, has promoted all things Irish at the big shindig, which features 18 separate cooks who work all day to make their pots of stew to share with the community. For a donation of $7 per person or $20 per family, all can enjoy all the stews their tummies can hold.

McKewan and the head leprechaun of the Knights of Columbus, Tony O’Blazej, whose club is this year’s sponsor, have a grand night planned. It is a wonderful time to be with family and neighbors and support this local high school scholarship. The good stews go fast, so all are encouraged to be there when the doors open at 5:30 p.m. Seating is limited.

The Irish Stew event is like getting off the boat in Dublin and walking into the family pub where all your aunt Kates, cousins and friends are waiting to greet you. It is a sea of friendly folks and children, all dressed in forty shades of green. If you aren’t wearing green yourself, you will surely be pinched.

Should you get thirsty, no worries. The Knights of Columbus, who are all dressed in green with the derby hats, will have set up an Irish pub with Irish and domestic beers, wines and soft drinks for purchase.

This is a family event, and there will be a kids’ Irish costume contest where all kids will be winners. There will also be wee hot dogs and waters for the young children who have not yet developed a taste for Irish stew.

As you enter the hall, you see the Irish cooks behind their decorated tables and stews. Irish music fills the air and you hear that Irish dancers will soon be performing.

In the back of the hall are tables of wonderful gifts and donations that will be auctioned off to the highest bidders at the end of the evening. All proceeds go to high school scholarships for local students. So bring lots of green in the form of gold coins, paper money and those blessed credit cards to bid on the auction items.

Applications are still being taken for Irish cooks. Visit vcirishstew.com to download an application, or call Kathleen at 760-497-7007 for more information.


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