I have been a member of The Lawrence St. Patrick’s’ Day Parade Committee for several, okay a lot of years now. I got involved because I wanted to be the queen. And this is why…I read something, somewhere that I was too old to be Miss America. The rules say that a woman who competes for this title must be between 17 and 24 years of age, and I was a full nine years past this date at the time. I have no idea why but this bothered me.
It is not that I had huge ambition to BE Miss America mind you that would have been something of a stretch. For those of you who know me in the real world, I am not a patricianly tall person, although I am a tad bit taller that the average American woman. 5’5”….and ½ without shoes thank you very much. And I do not have the thin waif like or even athletic type of physique like that of the women that usually show up at these things. Thanks to genetics I do not have that beauty queen type body, and I am okay with that. I am not so much a girly girl, and my talents do not include playing the harp, the flute, classical piano, or guitar and my singing is less than operatic. I just wanted to wear the damn crown, and ride around in a convertible, okay?
At the time I was in full St. Pat’s Queen Campaign mode for the title, I worked my chubby little hinny off. The queen candidates of today have a LOT more expected of them than I ever did back in the day. It is like having a part time job, along with the real job, school, family and whatever else you got going on. I so admire the women that are vying for the crown this year. They have raised money, they have found donations, they have sold t-shirts and trinkets, they have shown up at all of the events to help organize and paraded stuff al-la Vanna White style at the auction. There is a lot of work in being a queen candidate, with today’s standards I don’t think I would have made it to the end.
But I did, and here is the news that I am sure at least half of Lawrence has been waiting for. No, I was not the 1998 Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Queen. I have a friend that has since dropped off the committee let me know confidentially that I lost by one vote. One lousy stinking vote, not that I am bitter or anything. The young lady that beat me (did I mention it was by one vote?) was a KU Student, a very hard working and dedicated volunteer, and she made a great queen. There are several past queen and queen candidates that have remained with the committee. Current and past queen candidates and all of the other volunteers do so much to raise money for charity.
For those keeping track we have had Texas hold ‘em, bowling and pool tournaments along with a chili cook-off, darts & shuffle board, pub quiz, a huge auction, Irish road bowling, and a couple of rounds of what we call “Leprechaun Leap”. Basically that last one means that members of the parade committee go on a pub crawl to sell t-shirts and other trinkets to all raise money for our charities. There is the 5K run named “The Shamrock Shuffle”, and then a motorcycle poker run.
Whew! It is a wonder some of us have any energy or spirit to have a parade, but we do and we will. Sunday March 17th rain, shine or (forgive me) snow we will be out on the streets early checking lining up and sending entries up Massachusetts Street. Remember that since we are on a Sunday this year we will start a wee later than usual so that the churches in the area can finish their worship services before we totally take over their parking lots to stage entries. Parade will start at South Park at 1:30 and head North across the river and down Locust.
Come out Sunday March 17th for our 26th annual parade and bring the kids. After all kids are who we raise money for every year. All of the 2013 St. Patrick’s Day funds will go to The Lawrence Arts Center for their Children's Scholarship Fund, The Ballard Community Service at The Ballard Center, and The County Fair Swim Club.
Brenda Brown is the Director of Development and Marketing for Independence, Inc. She volunteers her time to The Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.