If you’re planning on celebrating St. Patrick’s Day by checking out the annual parade, be aware, there are a few changes this year.
To start, there’s a new route. The parade will start at the Capitol, work its way down East Locust Street to 6th Street downtown.
The parade brings out excitement and the feistiness of the Irish.
“We sometimes refer to the St. Patrick’s Day parade as the we don’t have a public restroom day parade,” says Raygun owner Mike Draper.
In the east village, Raygun falls right on the parade route. The crowds may be a pain, but they do bring in business. Draper has already sold 3,000 “Kiss Me I’m Iowish” shirts.
“It’s kind of like a miniature Christmas. Everyone needs a shirt by a certain day to wear it to a parade,” says Draper.
The fact that the parade falls on a Saturday, along with a beautiful weather forecast has parade organizers changing their plans.
“We`ve got big floats people with trailers only doing a couple miles an hour, but still a child gets out there not paying attention and grabs a tootsie roll and gets ran over or hit? That’s not what we want,” says Ed Modglin of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick.
New this year will be barricades that keep kids and Iowans who have had a wee bit too much alcohol off the streets. In fact, there will be a lot less alcohol on the route.
“The staging area is going to be on actual capitol state grounds so there will be no drinking or smoking allowed,” says Modglin.
Some of the 130 parade entries have already expressed their concern. Some even threatened to pull out. But organizers say that’s too bad. They insist that the parade is a family event and drinking should not be the main focus.
The parade starts at noon. Last year, about 23,000 Iowans lined the streets to watch.
This year, organizers expect over 30,000.