Two sets of vows, one festive parade

David Johanning, manager of The Sandbar, took Wednesday off to work on the bar's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade float, The


The Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday. The parade starts in South Park, heads north through downtown, across the Kansas River bridge before turning right and ending at the Flamingo Club.

Twenty years ago on a cold, snowy St. Patrick’s Day, Terri Wilson and Alan Johnson were married on a float stopped on the Kansas River bridge – part of Lawrence’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

They will celebrate their anniversary by renewing their vows before this year’s parade begins at 1 p.m. Saturday. Another Lawrence couple, Carla Wiscombe and Russell Feuerborn, plan to follow in their footsteps by getting hitched during the parade.

For Wilson and Johnson, the wedding was spur of the moment.

“Jokingly, I said, ‘We’re going to get married during the St. Patrick’s Parade,'” she said. “Mike Jones, who owned Jet Lag back then, said he’d get us a float.”

That put the wheels in motion.

The couple exchanged vows on a flatbed trailer that was decorated with a wedding arch and green crepe paper. As snowflakes fell, the crepe paper turned into a green liquid that stained the couple’s clothes.

This year’s couple is hoping for better weather despite a forecast that calls for morning showers.

Wiscombe and Feuerborn will have to say “I do” while the float moves along the route because floats are no longer allowed to stop like they could 20 years ago. They will be married on The Sandbar’s float, said David Johanning, bar manager.

“They called me on Monday and they wanted to see if we still do weddings upstairs,” Johanning said. “They wanted something simple and quick.”

Johanning said the bar has participated in the parade for about 15 years, but this would be the first wedding.

Wiscombe and Feuerborn declined to be interviewed, preferring to stay out of the limelight.