Thousands turn out for annual St. Pat’s Parade

Thousands enjoy parade, great weather downtown

The trio escorting the Irish flag at the head of the 2009 St. Patrick’s Day Parade crosses the intersection of Seventh and Massachusetts streets Tuesday in downtown Lawrence.

Irish eyes were smiling in Lawrence on Tuesday, as thousands of people lined Massachusetts Street for the 22nd annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

“This is the best weather I have seen for many years,” said Sue Simmons, a Lawrence resident who has been attending the parades for as long as she could remember.

The warm sun and clear sky were a far cry from last year’s chilly deluge.

“Last year it was raining and cold and windy and it wasn’t hard to get a parking spot — but this year you can’t get a parking spot,” Simmons said.

Vendors sold green cotton candy and plastic “Kiss Me” beads along the street. From green hats to a green lady liberty, everyone was in high spirits.

“St. Patrick’s Day is my favorite holiday,” said Cheyenne Frohlich, 18, from Garnett. “I like green.”

Although Frohlich had not been to many St. Patrick’s Day parades, some attendees were weathered veterans.

“How many years have we come to St. Patrick’s Day parades? Over 20 years,” Lori Warren said.

The visitor from Gardner came to the parade with her sister and was pleased with the good weather and family-friendly environment. “It’s beautiful out. I enjoy the parade — it’s much better than downtown Kansas City … (which) is getting too busy and too crazy,” she said.

Lawrence police responded to a disturbance and a battery call in the 900 block of Massachusetts Street during the parade. Capt. Lexie Engleman, of Lawrence-Douglas County Fire Medical, said the department handled a couple of medical calls but nothing major.

Winning entries

Here are the winning entries:

• Commercial division: Berry Plastics, first; Teapouro Tea & Espresso, second; G-Force Athletics, third; and Humane Society, honorable mention. First through third places receive a plaque and a cash prize.

• Family division: WRAP Program, first; Asteroid Head Art Club, second; County Fair Swim Club, third; and Recovery and Hope Network, honorable mention. First through third places receive a plaque and a cash prize.

• Best Dressed Wee Little Irish Folk: Kendall Feurt.

• Best Dressed Adult Irish Folk: Matt Finley, drum major of Jefferson County Marching Band.

• Grand prize traveling trophy: Kennedy Glass/Combs Custom Cycle. The Sandbar was awarded honorable mention.