“Everyone had kegs and threw shots and would throw Jell-O shots out to the adults and candy to the kids.” R.C. VanNoy (pictured here) founded the parade on a whim. Photo courtesy Jess & Jim’s.

In the beginning… the Martin City St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

On St. Patrick’s Day, 1987, three gentlemen lined up with their rigs in front of the Phillips 66 Station on 135th Street and began to parade around the neighborhood.

  By D’Ann Dreiling

     Sandy Braumer smiles broadly as she recalls that late night at Chiarelli’s Pasta House when the Martin City St. Patrick’s Day Parade was conceived.  Her husband Donny, Billy Ben Bentthusen and Pat Martley were well into the schnapps as they lamented the fact that most of their customers would be headed downtown on St. Patrick’s Day.

     “We should have our own parade,” says Donny, and the other two lit up with excitement.  Though after midnight but knowing their friend, R.C. Van Noy, would still be working at his restaurant down the street, they called him at Jess and Jim’s.

     “Love the idea,” said Van Noy, and Donny immediately appointed him permanent Grand Marshall.

 Donny Braumer in the second annual parade in 1988. Photo by Sandy Braumer

     On St. Patrick’s Day, 1987, the gentlemen lined up with their rigs in front of the Phillips 66 Station on 135th Street and began to parade around the neighborhood.  R.C. led the way in his classic car convertible, followed by Billy Ben in a wagon pulled by six horses with Donny perched on top, then Pat Martley in a beat up old car, Black Beauty, layered with green crepe paper streamers.  Sandy laughs out loud as she remembers being the only spectator and running alongside the parade cheering them on.

     The following year people called Chiarelli’s to make inquiries about joining in, and were simply told to line up at the ‘66 Station by 2:00.  The Station provided a keg of beer.  There were no requirements, rules or fees.

     Fearing there would be few spectators, Sandy invited her friend, Marsha Drummond, to join her.  Marsha agreed to come, but only if she could be queen, and queen she was.  She seated herself atop R.C’s convertible, crown in place.

     Jerry Moore, employee at Mt. Moriah Cemetery, entered the parade that year towing their Liberty Bell with Donny on board, clanging away.

     Times change, as they always do, and on the 11th year, the police no longer bought Sandy’s story that this wasn’t a parade, but a spontaneous happening, and they shut down the parade.  No permit, no parade.

     But no one can shut down the Irish for long, and the parade continues on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day with rules and permits required, but good times prevail! This year is no exception, Sunday, March 15th, 2:00.

     So let’s toast those who bought this gaiety into our lives with a glass of home made “Baileys” Irish Cream.

     To Sandy, Donny, R.C., Billy Ben and Pat, “May the Lord keep you in the palm of His hand and never close His fist too tight”. 


Here’s the dish…

“Bailey’s” Irish Cream

In blender add:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 1/4 cup Irish whiskey 
  • 1 teaspoon instant coffee granules 
  • 3 tablespoons chocolate syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Blend for 20 to 30 seconds. Refrigerate in a tightly sealed container for up to 2 months.

Shake before serving.Serve over ice, or strait up.


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