St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee Selects 2016 Irish Belle

Leah Kopp of Ventura has been selected to serve as this year’s Irish Belle for the 2016 County Ventura St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade begins at the San Buenaventura Mission on Saturday, March 12, at 10 a.m. and moves up Main Street by the Judges Stand on Chestnut and continues to Laurel Street.

Kopp is a senior at Foothill Technology High School in Ventura. She is a scholar-athlete who played basketball for Buena High School until this year when Foothill for the first time offered boys’ and girls’ team sports in basketball, soccer, cross country, water polo and track. Last year Kopp was selected to First-team All Channel League, second-team All-County and first-team Academic All-County.

Kopp has also participated in two missions to Mexico, one to deliver clothes and food to poverty-stricken families near the towns of San Vincente and San Rafael, and the other to bring supplies and provide sports activities for children at the Door of Faith Orphanage in La Mision, Mexico. Kopp has been a member of the Kiwanis and Culinary clubs at Foothill, and is a continuing member of iLife bible study at Ventura Missionary Church.

Kopp’s duties as the parade’s 5th Irish Belle are to attend promotional activities supporting the parade and to ride in the convertible that leads the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee entry. Tim O’Neil, a committee member and parade announcer, said, “We are proud to have Leah as our Irish Belle this year. Her courage and commitment to community service are reminiscent of the work ethic and pioneering spirit of the families who helped Ventura become a bona fide city in the year 1866.”

The theme of this year’s parade is to celebrate 150 years of Ventura’s history. The Grand Marshals are descendants of five of Ventura’s historic families: The Chumash, E.P. Foster Family, Olivas Family, Smith Hobson Family and Harrison/Moraga Family.

The Ventura County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee is accepting entries for the parade. For entry forms or more information about the parade, visit, or call 643-4275