Downtown Lawrence turns Irish for 31st annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade

photo by: Andrew White

Clowns and the crew of The Sandbar's float bring up the rear of the Lawrence St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, March 17, 2018, on Massachusetts Street.

Even before the opening color guard made it by her lawn chair at Seventh and Massachusetts streets, Laura Tiffany had already invested more than six chilly hours in Saturday’s Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“We brought a truck down at 6 this morning so we would have a place to park,” Tiffany said. “This was the only place left. Next year, we’re going to come down the night before.”

The crowd of parade-goers lined both sides of the Massachusetts Street parade route between 11th and Sixth streets.

Kim and Brian Green and their six children have watched the parade every year for more than a decade, and Brian said one of his friends, Matt Mosconi, has been trying to convince him to get more involved in the festivities in the future.

?”He was just trying to talk me into building a float next year,” Brian Green said. “It would be a great Irish-Italian float.”

Thirteen-year-old Meg McDonough, of Lawrence, marched in the parade for the first time Saturday alongside the Lawrence Public Library’s float. As the float approached Sixth Street, some of the marchers called it a day, but McDonough said she would accompany the float through North Lawrence and see the parade’s 2-mile route through to its end.

“It’s so much fun,” she said. “I like seeing all the little kids dancing to the music and stuff.”

Perched atop a concrete planter box, friends Patti Browning and Genelle Denneny watched the parade with smiles, but also with a critical eye, noting that one float was almost devoid of green.

Browning and Denneny have been fans of the parade for decades. Both said they helped build floats for the parade in the past — floats that involved castles, pirate ships and other elaborate designs — and Denneny was even in the running for one of the big honors once.

“I was a parade queen candidate in the ’80s,” Denneny said. “We live for this day.”

The sun never made an appearance at the parade, and temperatures topped out in the 40s, but that didn’t chill the spirits of parade viewers or participants, said Kay Traver, 2018 parade co-chair.

“I think we had a lot more people walking this year,” she said. “I was really pleased with the quality of floats.”

Sgt. David Hogue, of the Lawrence Police Department, said the crowd was well behaved.

“It was wonderful,” he said. “From the police point of view, it was completely uneventful.”

2018 St. Patrick’s Day Parade float awards

Winners of the 2018 Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade awards are as follows:

Grand prize traveling trophy:

First place: The Sandbar

Runner-up: Empire Billiards and Bar.


First place: Weatherwax-Feurt Family Circus

Second place: Ryan Family

Third place: Harry Herington’s 58th Birthday in 2017 Batmobile


First place: Greenhouse Culture

Second place: Douglas County Trailriders

Third place: Lawrence Elite Wrestling


First place: Berry Plastics

Second place: Heartland Meat Market

Third place: Prime Martial Arts

Best Dressed Wee Little Irish Folk:

Jesse Sottilare

Best Dressed Adult Irish Folk:

Tonya McNeely