2018 Smilin’ Irishman Contest
Thank You Friendly Sons of St. Patrick
Going far beyond expectations, the Friendly Sons became the largest donor in the history of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, raising over $25,000 from their 2018 Smilin’ Irishman contest in support of the best one-day celebration in San Diego County – our mighty Parade and Irish Festival.
The Friendly Sons obtained record participation this year, including contestants from the Firefighters Emerald Society –Andrew Shaba, the Law Enforcement Emerald Society –Barry Cronin, the House of Ireland –Richard Collins, and the Irish Congress –Kevin Bonner, in addition to the Friendly Sons’ contestant –Brian Brady.
In addition to raising a record amount of total funds raised, Brian Brady, with an impressive effort, set a record for the Friendly Sons, raising around $10,000 in his bid.
The well-organized event was emceed by Michael Duffy who had a tough job corralling the contestants, but kept the affair on track. He, with great diligence, put the lads through their paces, from discerning Ireland's fine whiskeys, rabbling the crowd with witty Irish humor and moving song, and moving their hearts with an inspiring Irish toast. As the Sons’ Trevor Wessman-Lavelle and Dee Harmes kept track of the tallies, the competitors battled fiercely to keep the raucous crowd entertained while simultaneously encouraging the audience to extract their wallets and pocketbooks and place cash votes for their favorite candidate.
While the battle ran neck-and-neck through the first rounds, Brian Brady emerged recording a jaw-dropping, record-breaking sum in donations from his camp, but it was Kevin Bonner from the Irish Congress, with an unbridled and overwhelming army of supporters, as well as the fortuitous transfer of votes from other candidates, who became this year's winner and the first-ever victor of this annual event from the Irish Congress.
While all the candidates were formidable competitors and bragging rights are important, in the end, it was the Parade (that this year will be hold on THE DAY, March 17) that truly ended up as the winner.
It was the Friendly Sons who single-handedly funded the first few Parades back in the 1980s, and they have faithfully supported the Parade organization ever since. They are a part of the fabric of this great event and the Irish Congress is forever indebted to them and is fortunate to have such a good friend. For Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Membership information, please visit fsosp.com, as they have a wonderful list of events leading up to St. Pat’s and throughout the year.
2018 Smilin' Irishman
Law Enforcement Emerald
Society support their man.
The Bonner supporters came out in force.
Whiskey tasting - a blind taste test.
The main cast of characters: Mike Duffy, Emcee;
Barry Cronin of the Law Enforcement Emerald
Society; Richard Collins of the House of Ireland;
Brian Brady of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick; Kevin
Bonner of the Irish Congress; and Andrew Shaba of
the Firefighters Emerald Society.
Firefighters Emerald Emerald Society led the
charge for their candidate.