Step-dancing sets pace for great Irish evening at Elks Club

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There was nothing green about the Irish step-dancing troupe that drew rave reviews during and after March 14 performance inside the packed Tri-City Elks Lodge No. 14 in Warwick.

Moreover, volunteer chefs Bob Hartington and Steve Lagese – along with some special super-servers like Marianne Beirne, Deb and Noel Petisce, Diane Duquette and Susan Hartington – helped the ever-expanding lodge present what many people called “an interesting and inviting St. Patty’s Night” party.

“These people may have just cornered the market on the perfect St. Patrick’s event,” said Manny Mihailides, a retired restaurateur, offered. “You’re kidding me! This food was prepared by volunteer chefs! Wow! This corned beef is absolutely delicious.”

The same held true for the night’s menu of boiled potatoes, onions, cabbage, carrots, freshly-baked Irish soda bread and ice cream. The night also included Leading Knight Charlie Greaves’ Irish riddles, toasts and his special guitar music with accompaniment by fiddler Andy Larsen and the precision Damhsa dancers.

“Weren’t those dancers awesome?” asked Lori Eaton, Lodge 14’s treasurer and party planner. “Oh my goodness, they were awesome.”

To which Bessie Mihailides, who came from East Greenwich with eight friends and her husband, offered, “Their costumes are absolutely beautiful.”

Eaton and Mihailides weren’t the only ones among the 200 guests who heaped praise upon the Damhsa Irish Dance Studio’s troupe. It’s coached by Grainne Lanigan and Colleen Kenyon and seems always in high demand.

That was the case when the group put on a lively 30-minute show that included well-choreographed routines at several other locations before ending the hectic day at Lodge 14.

“They really made this year’s St. Patty’s Party special,” said Mark Eaton, Lodge 14’s Exalted Ruler. “The proof is in the numbers; last year’s event wasn’t well-attended. But tonight, and, we’ve got one of our new members to thank for the Damhsa folks being here and making it extra special.”

Eaton was talking about Marianne Beirne, Damhsa Irish Dance Studio co-owner.

When she came into the lodge, Lori Eaton learned about her daughter’s Damhsa Irish Dance Studio and the two talked about the Step Dancers doing a special performance.

“The rest, as they say, is history,” said Mark Eaton as he adjusted his green sequined fedora. “This was an excellent example of Elks caring – and sharing – and by far our best St. Patrick’s Party ever!”

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