So how do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day when you are required to practice social distancing? The Irish community of Chateauguay may not be having a parade this year but they did come up with a novel way to celebrate.
Chateaguay families are taking part in a scavenger hunt. Residents living on 41 streets in the community agreed to decorate their homes and yards with shamrocks. Armed with a map — virtual or on paper — participants drive around town, looking for shamrocks until they have found them all.
“Everyone is really having fun with it, and people are leaving their shamrocks up for a few days, so if people didn’t have a chance to go today they can go tomorrow” said Kelly Bulmer, one of the organizer’s of the event.
With parades, parties and community gatherings canceled due to COVID-19, organizers looked for a way to celebrate being Irish on March 17.
“It’s to let you know that it’s there and you can actually still celebrate and you don’t have to be involved in a big parade to do something” graphic artist Rolanda Murphy told Global News.
She designed the map in just twelve hours, once she and her friends had hatched the project.
The map was built based on the list of streets that Bulmer, Murphy and Christina Gonalez, the third organizer behind this event, had collected.
Residents were asked to put out their shamrocks by 11:30 pm Monday evening. All the reported shamrocks were placed on the map without giving out people’s exact address for safety concerns. Throughout the day Tuesday, Rolanda continued to add shamrocks after the deadline on the virtual map on Facebook.
Alana Thomas and her children spent time together putting up shamrocks for people to see. Her daughter Emma was scheduled to perform an Irish dance during the Chateauguay parade. She was very disappointed it was cancelled until finding out that they would be going on a scavenger hunt.
“I spoke to my kids and said ‘we are going to do it’ and they asked if we have to put up just one, I said ‘no, how many do you want to?’ They said 24,” Thomas explained.
One Chateauguay resident was getting ready for work when she discovered the shamrock scavenger hunt and decided to join the fun.
“To be honest, I find its actually really good, because it gets kids out, parents out, it gets them fresh air and not be locked up or anything “Ashley Scutt told Global News.
News of the scavenger hunt is spreading through social media and other families are joining in. They’re all really happy about this grassroots activity that gets everyone out of the house for a few hours.
”It’s nice for the kids since nobody can go anywhere. It’s a nice way to stay safe and do something” said Linda Espionsa.
Organizers say they’ve asked participants to leave their shamrocks up for the week so that more people can take part in the hunt.