Archive for Saturday, March 17, 2012

Creativity on parade for St. Patrick’s Day

The 25th annual St. Patrick's Day parade included 162 floats on Saturday March 17, 2012. The Sandbar float, which won first place, was one of the last floats up Massachusetts Street.

The 25th annual St. Patrick's Day parade included 162 floats on Saturday March 17, 2012. The Sandbar float, which won first place, was one of the last floats up Massachusetts Street.

March 17, 2012


St. Patrick's Day Parade

Sights and sounds from the 2012 St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Lawrence. Enlarge video

The Lawrence sky was a little gloomy Saturday morning as the community prepared for the 25th annual Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The greens — kelly, amazon, mantis, emerald, jade, neon, Persian and hunter, among others — were a little dull as thousands lined Massachusetts Street.

Then the parade began, and the sun came out.

The green beards, shirts, skirts, wigs, shoes, motorcycles, hats, horses, dogs, vests and even the portable toilets in South Park were able to show their truest green shade as 160 floats and parade participants glided through the heart of downtown Lawrence.

And all variety of floats were welcome at the Lawrence tradition that has raised nearly $700,000 for area charities since 1987.

There were the real labors of love, such as The Sandbar’s pirate ship, which was honored with the grand prize.

The ship’s “first mate,” Sandbar owner Peach Madl, showed off the features of the massive float, equipped with his and hers restrooms.

Madl said they’ve been building a float for about 15 or so years and typically stick with some sort of beach or aquatic theme.

“It’s a ritual for us. All our friends and family get together every year,” she said, giving a tour and warning of pirates — mostly waist-high kids — scattered around the ship. The ship came equipped with a dance floor, ample seating and stood about 20 feet high in some areas.

Then there were the more modest participants, such as the Social Service League’s “float,” which was actually just an old pickup truck.

Board member Janet Cinelli didn’t really have words to describe a theme for their float. Various stuffed animals — pigs, bears, horses, cats — hung from racks in the truck’s bed. It was cutesy or macabre, depending on your perspective.

Cinelli, however, like many other nonprofits who participated in the parade, were promoting upcoming events or causes. Cinelli and the board members trailed the truck, wearing used prom dresses, to raise awareness about their April 14 free prom dress giveaway at the Social Service League.

Some board members went for the eccentric.

“There are some that are much prettier,” Cinelli promised of their stock of dresses.

Then there were the entertainers, such as Gary Mosby and the Kansas City Pipes and Drums, bagpiping and whistling their way through the parade, kilts and all. The musicians wouldn’t make it all the way to the parade’s end, at the Flamingo Club in North Lawrence, but they’d peel left across the bridge and play for patrons at Johnny’s Tavern.

They were to take donations for their performance and donate the $1,000 or so to charity.

“Lawrence has been wonderful the 20 years we’ve been doing this,” Mosby said. “Walk into a bar with a pipe band, and their music stops, and they’ll let us play.”


Pywacket 5 years, 10 months ago

Definitely one of the warmest I've been to. I can remember some St. Patrick's Day parades that were bitterly cold--had to bundle the kids up we were still freezing. This one was perfect--and what a turnout. Would not be surprised if it was a record crowd.

George_Braziller 5 years, 10 months ago

Four years ago the weather was awful. Pouring rain, windy, and mid-30s. I was on one of the floats and despite having an umbrella and a poncho, wearing boots and a winter coat by the end of the parade I was still completely drenched and half frozen. Even my socks were soaked. It was miserable.

Maddy Griffin 5 years, 10 months ago

Sandbar needs a new theme AND a new float. I'm all for recycling but could you mix it up a little.The boat is getting tired.

BruceWayne 5 years, 10 months ago

What was your entry? That's what I thought.

Caroline Wroczynski 5 years, 10 months ago

I know they are all LARGE, but how is a riverboat, a castle, a barn, a volcano, a train, and a pirate ship the same theme/float? I've been surprised and impressed each year by the Sandbar's creativity and hard work. And as always, the parade, as a whole, was great! It was wonderful to see all the entries.

debbi 5 years, 10 months ago

The last time the Sandbar float was any kind of a boat was in 2007, when it was a double-decker riverboat and completely different from a pirate ship.

We've built a castle, barn, locomotive, volcano, Egyptian pyramids, a wedding cake, a 50's style car, an aquarium, the set of a Jimmy Buffett concert... I'm not sure how we could "mix it up" any more than that. As for recycling, we do try to re-use as much of the lumber and supplies as possible each year to not only save money on a very expensive venture, but also to reduce waste. The floats, however, are built from scratch every year.

Thanks to everyone for a great parade, it was another wonderful day in Lawrence!

Kris Adair 5 years, 10 months ago

Our first time to see the parade and it was amazing. The girls and I had a great time. Regardless of the opinions about floats all of the money raised will go to help those in need.

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