The Lawrence St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee is ready for its 32nd parade and to serve our community. As many of you have come to know, the St. Patrick's Day Parade of Lawrence is much more than a one day event. In addition to the fun, good old-fashioned parades, the Committee has provided more than $1 Million to local children's charities through our annual events and also Sully's Pot of Gold supplemental emergency fund. We hope to continue this tradition for many years to come. We have done this by hosting special fundraising events such as the annual Charity Auction, and 5K Shamrock Shuffle fun run, among others, as well as T-shirt sales, and by the generous contributions of individuals and businesses who are our good friends and neighbors. Our success depends on you! We thank you, the many members of our community, for your contributions and your participation throughout the years. In the coming days please, take the time to be a part of the special events sponsored by the Lawrence St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee. We look forward to seeing everyone at the St Patrick's Day Parade on March 17th.
A Wee Bit of Our History
The Lawrence St. Patrick's Day Parade began in 1988 while a few friends of Irish heritage sat in a local pub enjoying a frothy pint. Finbar Collins, Bill Sullivan, and Wink Guenther collaborated with local businessmen Wes Kabler, Gene Shaughnessy and Mike Jones to hatch the plan that would become a long-standing tradition in Lawrence.
On March 17, 1988 snow and sleet greeted the parade participants yet the determined Irish spirit prevailed. With Uncle Wesley on his white steed, the floats and parade attendants braved the wicked weather and completed their trek. One couple, Alan Johnson and Terri Wilson, even exchanged marriage vows while balancing atop a float! Even though the weather did not cooperate, the Irish spirit and the charity of the community was not dampened. That year the Fraternal order of Police donated $800 to The March Of Dimes. The following year the donations doubled and Cottonwood received a gift of $1800. 1989 also saw an increase in community participation.
In 1990 committee members voted to concentrate on raising funds for local children's organizations. Parade organizers decided The Boys and Girls Club of Douglas County would be the recipient of that year's efforts. $5000 was given to purchase a much needed bus for transporting children.
The first parade route was from 501 N. 9th street to 6th and Florida which is the route from the Flamingo to the Jet Lag Lounge. The current route for the parade is through the downtown business district. Line up begins at South Park in Massachusetts Street and ends at 501 N. 9th across the Kansas River Bridge. If you would like to participate, parade entry suggested donations for floats are $25 for families and $100 for businesses.