Go, See, Do: Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade, contra dance lessons and more

photo by: Journal-World File Photos

Left to right: Abe & Jake's Landing, Lawrence St. Patrick's Day Parade, Free State Brewing Co.

Massachusetts Street will be awash in green for the St. Patrick’s Day parade Sunday as about 100 entries make their way through downtown and across the Kansas River bridge into North Lawrence.

The parade heads out from South Park, 1141 Massachusetts St., at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, goes north through downtown and ends at the Flamingo Club, 501 N. Ninth St. in North Lawrence. Elaborate floats are always among the entries, but bicyclists and even horseback riders have appeared in past parades, parade organizer Kay Traver said.

“It is so much fun,” said Traver, who has been involved with the parade for the past 26 years and has even run for parade queen.

Along with all the entries, she estimates up to 35,000 people will be downtown and in North Lawrence. In most years, the parade starts at 1 p.m., but because St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Sunday this year, organizers pushed back the parade’s starting time to allow church services to finish.

The event got its start in 1988, when several Lawrence residents of Irish heritage talked in a local pub about having a parade, Traver said. That first year, it snowed, but the parade went on. This year, sunny skies and mild temperatures are in the forecast.

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.

Traver said she’s made a lot of friends and connections in the volunteer community through the parade, which is also a benefit for nonprofits. Ever since the parade’s 1988 debut, when it raised money for the March of Dimes, organizers have chosen several charities to fundraise for. This year’s recipients will be the Lawrence Children’s Choir and the Lawrence Youth Football program. The total amount they will receive will be announced in early April after all the expenses for the parade are paid, Traver said.

Over the parade’s 32-year run, proceeds from entry fees and associated fundraising events throughout the year have raised more than $1 million for local charities.

St. Patrick’s Day at Abe & Jake’s

If you haven’t had enough Irish fun after the parade, Abe & Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., will be sponsoring a family-friendly St. Patrick’s Day celebration from 1:30 to 6 p.m. Sunday. The event includes a bounce house and craft stations, and Terrebonne Cafe will be selling corned beef and cabbage. For adults, beer will also be available for purchase. Admission is free.

Learn contra dancing

If you have ever been curious about contra dancing but didn’t know the dance steps, no worries — lessons start at 7 p.m. on Saturday night at the Lawrence Community Building, 115 W. 11th Street.

After about 30 minutes of instruction, novices will be contra dancing down the line, doing whatever the caller tells them to do.

A dance partner isn’t necessary, said Brad Levy, a member of Lawrence Barn Dance Association, which hosts the monthly event on the third Saturday of each month.

While contra dancing is related to square dancing because it shares a number of moves, Levy said you won’t see any puffy skirts or string ties. The dress is casual and comfortable. It’s not about perfection, but having a good time, he said.

The dance is from 7:30 to 10 p.m., and dancers of all ages and skill levels are welcome. Admission for adults is between $8 and $15, with attendees encouraged to pay whatever they feel they can afford in that range. There are also special admission rates for students ($4) and children under 16 ($2).

Science on Tap

A KU psychology professor will share some insight into the psychology of addiction at this month’s Science on Tap event at Free State Brewing Company, 636 Massachusetts St.

Dr. Richard Yi, who directs the Cofrin Logan Center for Addiction Research and Treatment at KU, will be exploring the factors that influence the behavioral and decision-making processes involved in addiction at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. Admission is free.


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