Changes Made to Martin City’s St. Patrick’s Parade
Construction Will Be Cleared on 135th Street
By Kathy Feist
It’s been 29 years since R.C. VanNoy and a few others impulsively paraded down 135th Street in Martin City on St. Patrick’s Day to the amusement of a handful of people.
Over the years, the parade which will be held Sunday, March 13, at 2 pm, has grown in size, length and popularity. Several events during the day lead up to the parade, creating an aptly named “Irishpalooza.”
This year the parade route will be stretched further than it has before, beginning at 135th and Washington streets at the State Line Point Shopping Center (Pizza Shoppe, Pristine Hearing, Littlefield Optometry) and ending at Holmes and Blue Ridge roads. This should accommodate the growing crowd which is now estimated over 10,000 spectators. Many park their cars early and tailgate.
The main stage has also been moved this year from 135th & Wornall in the parking lot adjacent to Martin City Sports Complex to the parking lot at 411 E. 135th St., which is shared by KC Running Company and George’s Imports. This is due to the construction and equipment at 135th & Wornall.
For many it may be difficult to imagine a parade passing through the obstacle course of orange cones and construction along 135th Street. However, for the sake of the parade, the street will be cleared, according to Missy Wilson, director of the Martin City Business & Community Association (MCBCA).
This year’s slogan, “Shamrocks and Ewoks” encourages participants and spectators to incorporate an Irish or Star Wars (or both!) theme.
Grand Marshals for the parade are KMBZ’s afternoon radio hosts Scott Parks and Dana Wright. John Holt, Fox 4 News Anchor, will emcee the parade. Judges for the parade include Dr. Ginger Stivers of South KC Dental Center, Thomas Bies, owner of Premier Mazda, Katie Van Luchene, of KVL Communications, 6th District City Councilman Kevin McManus, and Kimberly Winter Stern, co-host of “Live From Jasper’s Kitchen” on KCMO Talk Radio.
The parade is expected to have 65 entries, including floats, drill teams, auto clubs, motorcycle groups, family entries, walking groups, horse riding groups, etc. Prizes will be awarded for best parade entries, RC’s Best of Show and the Don Harmon Most Humorous Entry, among others.
5K Whiskey Run
Formed in honor of the late Phil Moore, who participated in the parade and loved his Jameson Irish Whiskey, the 5K Whiskey Run will kick off the day’s festivities.
“Phil taught us all how to drink Jameson whiskey,” recalls Karyn Brooke, who organized the run in his honor. “He was a fun man.”
Brooks is owner of Sidelines Florist and a member of MCBCA which hosts the run.
The race will begin at 8:30 am in front of KC Running Company at 135th & Oak. It will be followed by a 50-200 yard Fun Run for kids 8 and under. All participants receive a t-shirt, mug, finisher’s medallion and a free post-race breakfast at RC’s.
Proceeds from the race will be donated to a trade apprenticeship program associated with the Builders Association, of which Moore was a member.
Best Dressed Dog Contest
The Martin City Animal Hospital will host a Best Dressed Dog Contest at 11:30 am In the event tent located between RC’s and Martin City Brewing Company. The staff at the clinic will be judging contestants based on best Irish or Ewok (Star Wars) garb. Winners will get the opportunity to ride in the parade. Pre-registration at www.irishpalooza.com is required.
Prince and Princess Contest
To become a prince or princess of the parade, one need only be two to seven years of age and dressed appropriately for such an honor. Judging for the prestigious honor begins at 12:30 in the event tent located between RC’s and Martin City Brewing Company. Judges will look for those exhibiting the best Irish spirit. The prince and princess will receive a $25 VISA gift card from Commerce Bank, a gift basket and a ride in the parade (with parents). Pre-registration at www.irishpalooza.com is required.
The parade is expected to end at 3:30 pm. Many restaurants in the area are hosting post-parade parties or specials, including a dance and celebration at RC’s, once owned by the originator of the parade.