A day downtown

March 12, 2014 

If you’re going to come to downtown Lee’s Summit at all in the next month, (hint, hint, city councilmen, your meetings don’t count as attending an actual “event”) March 15 should be the day.

The annual Emerald Isle Parade is in every way a showcase of what is superior about our community.

From fundraising to floats, kids and cars to candy and conversation, what Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street pulls off each year on this Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day is really an amazing thing to take in.

We pack thousands of people on a parade route that stretches from Lee’s Summit (the original) High School, down Green Street, winding through neighborhoods filled with moms, dads, kids and dogs, lawn chairs, hand shakes and smiles (not to mention bags for all the candy), into downtown, on to Third Street and eventually to Southeast Main for a final hurrah.

Weeks of prep for your float are over in less than an hour, but it’s a whirlwind worth the time and effort.

Making that turn onto Third Street from Green gets more and more challenging each year with the throngs of people that pack downtown. With projected weather in the 60s this Saturday, I cannot imagine how many people will be on hand.

But it’s not just the parade that brings them down.

Downtown Lee’s Summit, as it does with many events, brings in a kids’ element with a gold coin hunt, an adult element with an afternoon/evening pub crawl, new components with a “brew off” sponsored by one of downtown’s newest establishments, Grains & Taps, and a morning breakfast to gather before the madness at Mingle.

A day-long list of events may be enough to make your head spin, but it’s all part of the plan to showcase the central business district of this city.

And along with the community, entertainment and family aspects, we also find a way to give back during an event like this.

Nick Swearngin, owner of John’s Barber Shop in downtown Lee’s Summit, found a way to defy his wife and raise money for a good cause a few years back – shaving his head with the funds going to Hope House.

Since then, the event has grown each year with dozens of “head shavers” coming to the chair to get a buzz cut in the name of charity.

Last year, Swearngin and his crew raised $20,000 for Hope House. This year the count will surely exceed that.

Bully to those that participate in the Head Shave for Hope House and to Swearingn for taking advantage of this enormous downtown event to do some good for a worthy cause.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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