It look's like you don't have Adobe Flash Player installed. Get it now.
This year marks the 30th anniversary for citywide St. Patrick's Day festivities in Springfield. As KSMU's Royal Yates reports, the celebration has changed a great deal since it all began back in 1980.
Dave Trippe, president of the Irish Festivities Association in Springfield, remembers those early days very well as he was about to open his new bar on Commercial Street.
“The day that our business was supposed to open was on St. Patrick’s Day 1980 – That was our goal. So we thought it would be great to coordinate with the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and we were informed that there was no St. Patrick’s Day parade in Springfield, Missouri,” Trippe said.
After that, Trippe and his business partner decided to start a new tradition in Springfield. With help from several people in the community, there was a citywide parade the very next year.
The celebration has grown in the three decades that it’s continued. This year, the parade will take place Saturday, March 13th at 2pm, beginning at Commercial Street and ending at Park Central Square. Pre-parade activities begin at 11am. Since this is such a big anniversary for the annual event, Trippe says the Irish Festivities Association has invited a special guest.
“We are very fortunate. We have asked a dignitary from County Kerry, Ireland to come to the United States and be our Grand Marshall for this St. Patrick’s Day parade, and he has agreed.”
Michael Connor-Scarteen is the name of this year’s Grand Marshall. He has a great family history that reflects his dedication to his homeland. His uncles fought with Michael Collins for the independence of Ireland, as well as in the Irish Civil War. Since then his family has had more than 60 years of un-interrupted service to the Irish Parliament.
There will be a luncheon in honor of Connor-Scarteen at noon on March 12th at the Farmers Gastropub. Members of the Springfield community are encouraged to attend, meet the Grand Marshall, and learn more about his heritage.
With KSMU News, I'm Royal Yates.