St. Patrick’s Day Parade to honor late musician John Weatherwax

Joy and Marty Pattin, of Lawrence, will be senior queen and king in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Joy is the daughter of John Weatherwax, a jazz band musician whom the parade will be honoring.

St. Pat’s events

• Tonganoxie, 10 a.m. Saturday: Parade will be on Fourth Street from Main to Shawnee. At 7:30 a.m., Girl Scouts will serve biscuits and gravy at Old Ratliff Drug Store. Corned beef will be served from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at United Methodist Church.

• Shawnee, 1 p.m. Sunday: Parade starts on Johnson Drive at Monrovia Street and travels east to King Street. The annual Great Duck Race will begin immediately after the parade. Plastic ducks are raced starting at 4:30 p.m.

• Topeka, noon Tuesday: Parade starting from Eighth and Jackson streets.

John Weatherwax and his Junkyard Jazz Band never missed a St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Lawrence.

He’ll be there again Tuesday for this year’s parade, at least in spirit and name.

Weatherwax died in August. The parade will be in honor of him.

“From the very start he got his band involved in it. I don’t think he ever missed anything,” said Weatherwax’s daughter, Joy Pattin.

As a tribute to Weatherwax, the parade committee selected Pattin and her husband, Marty Pattin, to be the parade’s senior king and queen.

“The Weatherwaxes have always been a big part of this,” said Roger Browning, spokesman for the committee. “His band played at other events, including the queen coronations.”

This is the parade’s 22nd year. Over the years it has grown to include a series of events that precede parade day, including pub crawls; dart, trivia and chili contests; an auction; and a 5K run. These events and the parade itself are fundraisers for local charities.

The final pre-parade event is today’s Poker Run motorcycle rally, with motorcyclists riding off at noon from Slow Ride Roadhouse, 1530 N. Third St. Registration for the rally starts at 10:30 a.m. Riders will go to Tonganoxie, Oskaloosa, Topeka, Perry and back to Lawrence.

Tuesday’s parade starts at 1 p.m. from South Park. It will go north on Massachusetts Street, across the Kansas River Bridge, east on Locust Street and end at the Flamingo Club, 501 N. Ninth St. More than 100 parade entries are expected.

“Every year there’s been a few more entries. We have people coming from all over,” parade co-chairwoman Dina Hinchman said.

This year’s parade grand marshal will be Bill Garrett, who for years operated Garrett’s Vegetable Market along U.S. Highway 40 near Lawrence Municipal Airport. This year’s parade queen, Taylor King, of Oskaloosa, and her court, consisting of other queen candidates, also will ride in the parade.

St. Patrick’s Day events this year will benefit four charities: Boys and Girls Club of New York School, Lawrence Parents as Teachers, GaDuGi SafeCenter and Lawrence High School Support Team. The amount raised won’t be announced until later.

“It’s been a record year. We’ve done surprisingly well,” Browning said.

“Maybe people are saying the economy is going to be bad no matter what, so let’s have some fun,” Hinchman said.

Up to this year the parade and fundraising events have provided more than $479,000 to local charities.