Archive for Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Irish eyes to smile on Tonganoxie

Debbie Breuer, left, and Kay Soetaert, ride on the back of the County Road 5 Band's float. Breuer and Soetaert helped organize the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Debbie Breuer, left, and Kay Soetaert, ride on the back of the County Road 5 Band's float. Breuer and Soetaert helped organize the St. Patrick's Day Parade.

February 20, 2008

Area residents would be best served to bust out a bit o' green March 15 in downtown Tonganoxie.

The annual St. Patrick's Day parade will be held during its traditional Saturday time slot at 10 a.m. along Fourth Street.

And this year, one might see several Grand Leprechauns scurrying around.

Organizers will be celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Tonganoxie tradition with this year's Grand Leprechaun, Don Pelzl, leading the festivities.

Grand Leprechauns from previous parades are being contacted and invited to join in this year's milestone parade, said Cheryl Hanback, who is organizing the event with Debbie Breuer and Kay Soetaert.

"We're just real excited about this being the biggest and best one ever," said Hanback, who also is executive director of the Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce. "People are being very responsive."

Hanback said organizers have mailed out 100 registration forms for the parade. Anyone is welcome to sign up for the parade, with deadline for registration set for Monday, March 10. Registration forms may be picked up at the chamber offices, 304 West Street (U.S. Highway 24-40), or downloaded on their Web site at www.tonganoxiechamber.org. In addition, registration forms will be available at Tonganoxie businesses, including The Mirror at 520 E. Fourth.

The parade route will run west along Fourth Street from Main to Shawnee. Anyone interested in participating should also read rules and regulations that are listed on the forms.

Hanback said participants would need to register by 9:30 a.m. in front of Wire Nuts at Fourth and Main streets.

John Evans II will announce this year's parade.

Cash prizes for parade winners will complement Hanback's hopes for this year's parade being the "biggest and best."

The best band will receive $100, while float awards will be given for first ($150), second $100) and third ($75).

In the open category, the first-place winner receives $50, second $30 and third $20. New this year will be a best-dressed pet award as well.

The Kansas City St. Andrew Pipes and Drums again will provide traditional Irish music for this year's festivities

However, Tonganoxie won't just be about parades and bagpipes March 15.

From 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Girl Scouts will serve biscuits and gravy at the Old Ratliff Drug Store at Fourth and Bury streets. Donations will be accepted. A corned beef and cabbage dinner will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the First Congregational Church, 303 E. Fourth. Adults may eat for $7 and children for $3. The Tonganoxie PEO Chapter AT is sponsoring the meal.

And, as always, Hanback said she expects the middle of Fourth Street to be painted with a strip of green paint for the parade.

"It's a huge mystery," Hanback said about who paints the street. "We're thinking it's the leprechauns."

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