The third time was a charm for the Lawrence St. Patrick's Day Parade Saturday, said Gene Shaughnessy, Irish Advisory Committee chairman.
"It's bigger overall entrywise and the number of people in the parade is about twice as big as last year," he said.
About 70 units journeyed through Lawrence, including numerous shamrock bedecked commercial and family floats. Miss Kansas, Miss KU-Lawrence, and the St. Patrick's Day Queen and her court passed by, waving to the crowd, and winners of the children's coloring contest shouted St. Patty's Day wishes from the Voiture 786 train.
Shaughnessy said a highlight of the parade was the Christian Connection Marching Jaguars, a troupe from Olathe composed of 70 dancers ranging in age from four to 20.
THE PARADE followed a 2.4 mile route starting at the Flamingo Club, 501 N. Ninth. It traveled along Locust Street, turned south crossing the Kansas River bridge, and headed up Sixth Street to Tennessee. It continued west on Seventh Street, ending at the Jet Lag Lounge, 610 Fla.
With a little Irish luck, skies were sunny and thousands of onlookers lined the parade route. The event went off without a hitch, Shaughnessy said.
"The only problem we almost had was we thought we had a fire on one of our floats and it turns out they just had smoke coming out for the effect of the float," he said with a laugh. "I'm not one to brag, but everyone I've talked to said it went smoothly and well."
He estimated the size of the crowd to be around around 15,000.
Proceeds from this year's parade, which haven't been totaled yet, will benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Lawrence.
THE LAWRENCE High School football coaching staff and their spouses judged the parade floats. In the commercial float division, winners were: Kennedy Glass, Grand Leprechaun first place award and Judges Pot of Gold award for overall best float; AJ's Eighth St. Tavern, Blarney's Best second place award; and Bismarck Gardens, Dublin's Dream third place award.
The winning family floats were: Roger Browning's family, Shamrock's Select first place award; Mary Potter's family, Celtic's Choice second place award; and Dorothy Rooney's family, Emerald's Excellence third place award.
Armour Amusement won the award for best costumed Irish adults and the best-dressed "wee" person honor went to the children on Kanasta Kennels' float.
ST. PATRICK'S Day events kicked off at dawn for 174 early risers who participated in the Shamrock Shuffle, a 5-kilometer run along the Kansas River levee. The Lawrence Riverfront Plaza sponsored the race, which started in the parking lot of Johnny's Tavern, 401 N. Second.
Runners returned to Johnny's after the race for a breakfast of eggs and corned beef hash, and some runners washed it all down with green beer.
Overall winners of the race and their times were Ted Ortiz, 16 minutes 3 seconds, and Carol McFall, 19:10.