Although the sky was overcast, Irish eyes were still smiling — and the sidewalks were still packed — for the annual Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Green-clad revelers lined the parade route along Massachusetts Street from South Park to Sixth Street, turning out in droves for the 23-year-old Lawrence tradition.
Along with the usual parade standards of marching bands and fire trucks, the crowd was treated to more elaborate productions from a representative assortment of the Lawrence business and cultural communities.
More than 100 floats participated this year, which set a record, including: Asteroid Head Art Club, as members donned surreal masks and rode a giant paper hot dog down the street; Westar Energy, which erected power-line poles on a truck that were being climbed by electricians; and Ace Bail Bonds, which imprisoned children in a giant jail cell.
Despite the increased competition, the Sandbar, the reigning champ for the Grand Prize in the float judging competition, once again reclaimed its pot o’ gold. The downtown bar characteristically went over the top for its medieval-themed showstopper, erecting a two-story drawbridge castle on wheels. The fortified float housed a smoke-spewing, papier-mâché dragon, was preceded by knights on real horses and was populated by warriors boogying to ABBA.
The Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Committee hoped to raise $50,000 through the parade and several events for this year’s charities: Women’s Transitional Care Services, Douglas County CASA, Family Promise of Lawrence, VanGo Mobile Arts and the Lawrence Humane Society.