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Leprechaun Days a busy time for Rosemount seniors

What with all the card tournaments, the parade riding and the button sales, it's going to be a very busy week for Rosemount's seniors.

Rosemount Area Seniors, the city's senior organization, takes an active role in the Leprechaun Days celebration that kicks off Friday in Rosemount. The group will hold popular 500 and euchre tournaments, ride a trolley in the July 30 parade and sell the buttons that will help people remember the event while helping the seniors fill their general fund.

The button sales are the most significant of the seniors' Leprechaun Days activities. Since taking over the sales about five years ago the effort has become the group's primary fundraiser. If they sell out of the $1 buttons, the project brings the RAS $1,200.

The group uses that money to print membership books, provide coffee for members and subsidize the cost of meals at monthly meetings, among other things.

The buttons are not a requirement for participation in Leprechaun Days events, but after Leprechaun Days is over there will be a drawing with a top cash prize of $100.

"That chance is probably a lot better than the lottery," said RAS president Darline Lehman.

Lehman also knows the buttons can help connect people to the city's summer celebration. She's got her own board at home to display a collection of buttons that goes back to at least 1986.

"We used to get one all the time even before I was a member of the seniors," Lehman said. "It's one way to keep the event in your house. You keep that button and it reminds you that you look forward to it every year."

The card tournaments are probably the best attended of the seniors' Leprechaun Days events. Last year's 500 tournament drew more than 50 participants, and the euchre tournament was just a bit smaller.

The tournaments draw competitors of all ages, and it can be a big crowd for the Do Drop Inn room the seniors occupy at the Rosemount Community Center.

"I gets pretty noisy in that room," Lehman said.

This year's 500 tournament will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 22 at the community center. The euchre tournament will take place from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. July 23. Lehman hopes to get the competitions moved to the center's banquet room so there will be more room to move.

The seniors' final activity of Leprechaun Days will involve a lot of waving. On July 30 the seniors will board a trolley sponsored by First State Bank of Rosemount to ride in the Grand Day Parade.

Lehman said finding parade riders can be difficult, depending on the weather.

"Nobody wants to sit there in the sun," she said. "You're talking from 10 until probably 12:30. That's a long time. It's a commitment to those people who sit on the trolley.... But we feel it is a community awareness thing on our part to let them know we have a senior organization."

Lehman has a dozen or so people signed up for this year's parade. She's still trying to sort out whether the group will be able to give out candy. Parade rules prohibit throwing candy, but finding people willing to walk along and hand out treats can be difficult.

Lehman feels it's important, though.

"I'm sure we'll find some people to do it," she said. "We just kind of feel, grandmas hand out candy."