Celebrate all things Irish during the ninth annual Emerald Isle Parade, which begins at noon Saturday, March 15, in Downtown Lee’s Summit. The main parade route is on Green, Third and S.E. Main streets. The popular parade takes place every year the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day, and the day also features special activities before and after the parade. This year’s theme is “Puttin’ on the Green,” and the grand marshal is former police chief Joe Piccinini.All are invited to the family-friendly parade. The deadline to enter to be in the parade is March 1. Applications can be accessed on the Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street website: www.downtownls.org.
Back for its third year is the traditional Irish breakfast, which takes place the morning of the parade from 8 to 11 a.m. at Mingle, 209 S.E. Main St. Tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for ages 10 and younger, if purchased in advance by calling 816-246-6598 before March 12. Tickets at the door are $15 for adults and $10 for kids. Advanced tickets are highly recommended.
The Bits O’ Gold Coin Hunt takes place at 11 a.m. in Howard Station Park on S.E. Main Street. Children ages 8 and younger may participate. No registration is necessary. Prizes will be awarded.
The new Blarney Brew OfF, hosted by Grains & Taps, consists of two competitions, the BJCP Sanctioned Competition and a People’s Choice Tasting Festival. The competition is already full, but beer tastings are available from 11 a.m. to noon on Mingle’s back patio. Tasting glasses can be purchased for $5 by calling 816-866-5827.
More than 40 Downtown retail and specialty stores also will be open throughout the day as they celebrate spring and showcase new spring decor. Downtown restaurants and bars will feature their annual Emerald Isle Pub Crawl immediately following the Emerald Isle Parade.
The master of ceremonies is Kim Byrnes, anchor for Fox 4 News. Judges for this year’s Emerald Isle Parade are Patrick Fazio, morning anchor of 41 Action News; Susan Coffman, last year’s Grand Marshal and program coordinator of Lee’s Summit CARES; Vicky Cundiff, vice president of Weed Man; and Connie Smith, events coordinator for Total Venue.
The 2014 Emerald Isle Grand Marshal, former police chief Joe Piccinini, served as a respected member of the Lee’s Summit Police Department since 1983. He worked his way through many positions and ranks, including detective, watch commander and sergeant to become chief of police.
Piccinini began his career in law enforcement with the LSPD after earning a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Central Missouri State University, and graduating from the Kansas City, Missouri Police Academy in 1983. He also earned a master’s degree in criminal justice from UCM and graduated from the 237th Session of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Va.
Piccinini is a member of the Lee’s Summit CARES executive board, Lee’s Summit Character Council, Missouri Police Chiefs Association, Metropolitan Chiefs and Sheriffs Association, Jackson County Drug Task Force Board Member and Lee’s Summit Rotary.
The Emerald Isle Parade, organized by Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, is sponsored by Bank of Lee’s Summit, Weed Man, Lee’s Summit Journal, Mingle and Grains & Taps.
In conjunction with the Emerald Isle Parade, other organizations and businesses are hosting additional events on March 15, in Downtown Lee’s Summit:
Emerald Isle Pub Crawl: Hosted by Downtown Lee’s Summit bars and restaurants, the annual Emerald Isle Pub Crawl will take place at approximately 1 p.m., following the parade, and will continue into the evening. To purchase an Emerald Isle Pub Crawl T-shirt and lanyard or for more information, visit any Downtown Lee’s Summit bar.
Head Shave for Hope House: The highest bidders will have the opportunity to shave the heads of members of the community, including local police, firefighters, elected officials and others. Items also are up for bid in a silent auction. All proceeds benefit Hope House. The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with the head shaving beginning at 2 p.m., at the Fire Fighters Union Hall, 322 S.E. Douglas St., in Downtown Lee’s Summit. For more information or to make a donation, contact John’s Barber Shop at 816-524-1711.