Local business celebrates St. Patrick’s Day for first time since pandemic began

Published: Mar. 5, 2022 at 9:10 PM EST
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AGAWAM, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - Cooper’s Gifts in Agawam held their Second Annual Celtic Celebration ahead of St. Patrick’s Day.

Saturday’s event had an extra special meaning. The first celebration of its kind was held in March of 2020 right before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

Cooper’s decked out in green for the Second Annual Celtic Celebration on Saturday.

“It’s just great to see people come together and have a good time,” said owner Kate Gourde.

She told Western Mass News that the first event was held back in March of 2020, only a few days before the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown.

“Three days after that event, they canceled the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Holyoke, which was a shock to everyone,” she said, “so this is very meaningful to do this event today, two years later, to make the occasion of what we have all been through together and what we are doing going forward.”

Featured during the Irish festivities was author PJ Shanahan. The Holyoke native spoke about his books, including PJ the Leprechaun and They Call Me Boston, a memoir about the tragic shooting in 2010 that left him paralyzed.

“That was the night I met Jesus and truly had an intimate encounter with him, as he saved my life,” Shanahan said.

He told Western Mass News that the memoir highlights the spiritual journey following the shooting and also his childhood.

“I forgave the two guys who shot me that night, and I forgive them again in my memoir, but I wanted to share what really happened, and it’s not just about the shooting, it’s about my journey of growing up as an Irish boy,” Shanahan said.

Also featured during the celebrations: Irish bread, dip mixes, Sassy Lassy meatballs, and a new line of instant cocktails.

“We are demoing, we’re sampling the shamrock set today, so I’m making shamrock shanties and Irish creme for all of our customers to sample and enjoy,” Gourde said.

In addition, Gourde kicked off a raffle contest on Saturday that runs through St. Patrick’s Day to help the local Parish Cupboard in West Springfield.

“We will swap you one raffle entry for each of your donated items,” she told us. “All of those food donations go to the Parish Cupboard, or you can buy an entry for a dollar a piece or 6 for 5 dollars.”

The 3 winners will be announced on the store’s social media pages on St. Patrick’s Day.