"Rhyming while imbibing" is how I’d describe the annual St. Patrick’s Day limerick competition at the Crow’s Nest on March 17.
Proprietor and head leprechaun Steve Harner has been hosting the annual St. Patty’s Day party at his popular restaurant and bar for 39 years.
“Some people are just crazy and will send in a half-dozen limericks,” says Harner, whose mother is from Ireland. “People always think that if they mention the Crow’s Nest, they’ll win. But it almost never happens.”
Harner received more than 100 submissions last year and he's expecting as much enthusiasm this year. Tradition dictates that the Crow’s Nest team narrow the field to 25. After 9 p.m. on St. Patty’s Day, the top entries will be read to the crowd. Audience response will determine the winners. The first place winner receives a $100 restaurant gift certificate; runners up receive a $25 gift certificate. Entertainer Darrell O’Lawhorne will entertain and preside over the judging, which is followed by an Irish sing-a-long.
You don’t have to be Irish to enter, but you only have until March 14 to submit a limerick.
Harner says the key to a memorable lyric is that it must be “outrageously witty.” You can download an entry form online. He advises people to “keep it clean.”
Here’s last year’s winning limerick, by Paddy Pezley:
The snow birds in Venice love wine
To think I used to plow snow at this time
Instead I am here
At the Nest drinking beer
Thinking damn - isn't life mighty fine
Earlier on St. Patrick's Day, you can enjoy a free concert at the Centennial Park Gazebo, 200 W. Tampa Ave. The Happy Times Band begins playing at 3 p.m. Bring a lawn chair.
The Italian American Club of Venice begins its celebrating on Saturday, with a combined St. Patrick's and St. Joseph's dinner party. The traditional corned beef, cabbage and Irish soda bread will be accompanied by pasta al forno and dolce Italiano. Cocktails begin at 5:30, followed by dinner and dancing. Tickets are $18 for members; $22 nonmembers. 1375 Ringling Drive. Call (941) 493-8883.