Organizers are expecting Sunday's 30th Annual Leavenworth St. Patrick's Day Parade to be a big one.
Aside from the milestone of the 30th year, organizer Tim Scanlon said the parade this year also falls on a Sunday.
One factor potentially affecting that outlook is the weather forecast, which had gone from predicted highs in the 60s earlier this week to highs in the upper 40s and lower 50s, with increased chances of some rain showers. Scanlon, however, said no conditions will deter the event.
“We will be there rain, sleet or snow,” he said.
Scanlon said Thursday afternoon that there had been a lot of last-minute entries and phone calls about the parade. To him, that's indicative a couple of things.
“There's way more (entries) than last year,” he said. “It's well over a hundred.”
The number of queries about the date and time of the parade also prompted Scanlon to confirm what he said is the most asked-about detail about the event ― yes, it starts at 1 p.m. and yes, it is on Sunday. The parade falling on a Sunday is an occasion that has happened several times in the years past. Rather than reschedule, Scanlon said the committee has always hosted the event on the day itself.
The day's festivities will actually start with a 10:30 a.m. St. Patrick's Day Mass at Immaculate Conception Church in Leavenworth, 711 N. Fifth St. Honorary grand marshal Gareth Prendergast, an Irish student at Fort Leavenworth's Command and General Staff College, is scheduled to deliver a Gaelic reading during the service.
Entrants in the parade will start lining up at Fourth and Walnut streets at noon. The parade itself is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. and will take the following route: Starting at Fourth and Cherokee streets, the parade will move east to Esplanade and Cherokee, than north to Delaware Street, west to Seventh Street, south to Cherokee and west until it ends at Cherokee and Fifth streets.
Among the floats will be local dignitaries, civic and church organizations and the family floats from the Scanlon, Fitzgerald, and McEvoy clans, among others.
The grand marshals will be Don and Marilyn Murray of Lansing, longtime supporters and volunteers at Immaculate Conception Church and Immaculata High School. In addition to Prendergast, Scanlon said that the planning committee for the parade was able to get two former honorary grand marshals to return to Leavenworth from Ireland to participate ― Mary Parsons will be representing her late husband, Denis Parsons, a grand marshal from 1986 and Michael "Mick" Gannon from 1992 and his wife May are also returning. There have been 12 honorary Irish grand marshals in all, Scanlon said, because Irish officers attend the CGSC every other year.
Page 2 of 2 - “That's never happened before,” he said of the returning grand marshals.
Those guests are not the only sign that the parade this year carries some additional importance ― Scanlon said the first order of commemorative T shirts are already sold out, though a limited second order will be available the day of the parade.
If the weather cooperates, Scanlon said the parade has the potential to be one of Leavenworth's most well-attended.
“The streets of Leavenworth are wide, so we'll fit them in wherever we can,” he said.