Archive for Wednesday, March 4, 2009

5 Questions: Bit ’o Irish

St. Patrick’s Day parade fast approaching

Tonganoxie students perform in the 2008 Tonganoxie St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Tonganoxie students perform in the 2008 Tonganoxie St. Patrick’s Day parade.

March 4, 2009

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade once again is coming to Tonganoxie. Tonganoxie Chamber of Commerce director Cheryl Hanback discusses this year’s parade.

Q: How did the St. Patrick's Day Parade get started in Tonganoxie?

A: Tonganoxie had its first St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 17, 1988. The parade was sponsored by B&J Thriftway and was the brainstorm of John Lyman McCaffrey, a store employee. Participants in the first parade were McCaffrey, Tom Norman, Ronnie Conrad, Eric Gambrill and Big John Dempsey. The tradition of having a Grand Leprechaun began the following year and has continued to the present. The chamber has been taking over the coordination for the last few years.

Q: How can people get involved in the celebration, for example, enter a float in the parade?

A: It is a as easy as filling out a form and sending it to us. There is no charge. The forms are available at our office (in the Little Gray house by Casey’s), online at, Community National Bank, First State Bank and Trust, Mutual Savings Association, Tonganoxie City Hall, Tonganoxie Public Library, Tonganoxie Recreation Commission and The Mirror.

Q: What other events are scheduled in addition to the parade for that day?

A: Tullintrain West Pipes and Drums Bagpipe band will play after the parade at the corned beef dinner from 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at Tonganoxie Methodist Church, 328 E. Fourth, which PEO Chapter AT of Tonganoxie is sponsoring. The Girl Scouts will serve breakfast at the Old Ratcliff Drug Store as well.

Q: Are there any new activities planned for this year's event?

A: Yes. Along with three prizes each for best entry and best float, we have three prizes for the best-dressed pet. I’ve heard the pets are really getting excited about this. I know my dog has been spending more time in my closet lately.

Q: Will the green paint stripe down Fourth Street appear again and who does the painting?

A: Legend has it that the stripe only appears if people plan to come to the parade and so far this Tonganoxie phenomenon has magically appeared each year. We fully expect the magic to continue in our 21st year, so come out to the parade and see if the stripe  appears.


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