Show your Irish pride with Tonganoxie T-shirts
If you’re wanting to get into the Irish holiday spirit, you might stop by The Downtown Drug Store.
The business is selling St. Patrick’s T-shirts in advance of Saturday’s Tonganoxie St. Patrick’s Parade.
The shirts, which one of the parade organizers, Rachel Kelly, designed last year, are for sale at the store.
Customers can get them in hunter green, lime green and yellow.
This year’s parade, which starts at 11 a.m. Saturday, so far has 12 entries as of Monday, according to Kelly. She said several entries tend to come in the day of the parade as well.
Entrepreneurs Achieving Success Together is sponsoring the event. Parade committee members are Keyta Kelly, Monica Gee, Tammie McCutchen, Becky Pollard, Rachel Kelly and JW Evans. Kay Soetaert also helps with the parade lineup.
The Tonganoxie High School Art Club will be painting the traditional green stripe down Fourth Street and decorating the intersection of Fourth and Bury streets with festive artwork and a nod to the parade’s founder, the late John McCaffrey.
This year’s start time is a slight change from the traditional 10 a.m. start.
Organizers made the time change so that parade-goers could grab Irish-themed lunches and beverages right after the parade festivities.
The annual PEO corned beef and hash meal will be at the Tonganoxie United Methodist Church, while Flashbacks Cafe will have a reuben sandwich special. Talette’s Cafe also will feature corned beef and hash.
And the Myers Hotel Bar will have Irish coffee, Bailey’s and green beer.
Prizes will be awarded at the judges’ stand — in front of the future City Hall next to The Mirror — after the parade. There will be a $150 grand prize for the best overall float, $25 gift card for best girls youth entry and $25 gift card for best boys youth entry. Police Chief Jeff Brandau and Fire Chief Jack Holcom will be presenting the boys and girls awards.
Starting last year, a traveling grand prize trophy was started. The trophy will go to this year’s grand prize winner.
The traveling trophy — a gold-painted paintbrush on a plaque — will be presented to the new winner.
The “trophy” is a lighthearted take on the tradition of painting a green stripe down Fourth Street in advance of the parade.
This year’s grand leprechaun will be Mike Kelly, Tonganoxie City Attorney. He’s also Rachel’s father and Keyta’s husband.
For an entry form, contact Rachel Kelly at 913-845-8780 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
McCaffrey is credited with organizing the first Tonganoxie St. Patrick’s Parade in the late 1980s and was involved with many more. A barber in Tonganoxie for 46 years, McCaffrey died in 2002. The parade has taken place in some form every year since that first parade in the 1980s.
Rachel Kelly hopes the weather is agreeable Saturday and folks will visit the downtown area for the traditional parade and more.
“It’s my favorite holiday,” Rachel Kelly said.
Asked what made St. Patrick’s Day her favorite, the answer was simple.
“I’m Irish,” she said. “I’m a Kelly.”