Broadway Boulevard was flooded on Saturday by a sea of green. The crowds of people were everywhere, clogging Westport’s main streets because of St. Patrick’s Day and the beautiful weather.
The 40th annual Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day parade wound its way from 33rd Street and Broadway Boulevard to the Westport area. The crowd varied in age, greenness and ethnicity. Distinguishable groups in the mob of people included the full-blooded Irish, the wannabe Irish, the “I’m one-fourth Irish” and the proudly non-Irish, present for the liquor, the spectacle or a mixture of both.
Every bar was packed to the brim with patrons spilling out into the streets. The police were out in full force trying to keep Broadway clear, but as always, people ran across the street through the floats after the parade began.
There were several impressive hot air balloons in the parade. Many floats from radio stations had live bands performing; Hot Jamz even had live DJs. Famous figures that showed up included Slugger, Neil McCoy, Snoopy and Charlie Brown.
There were thunderbirds, bands and cheerleaders, but unfortunately there were minimal free candies and necklaces. The Renaissance Festival made an appearance with volunteers in full costume and stiltwalkers, as did the Fringe Festival with an eccentric group, including UMKC student Kenna Hall. There were several rodeo shows and horse riders.
The Kansas City Roller Derby team, The Vikings, skated down the parade route, occasionally stopping to show off different formations and positions, as well as their skating prowess.
There were floats powered by bicyclists and a Vietnam Veterans of America float made with a relic helicopter.
The parade offered more than just an entertaining way to spend a Saturday, but was also a platform for political movements.
Multiple petitioners tried to acquire signatures to put cannabis legalization on Missouri’s ballot, firefighters handed out pamphlets detailing the government’s irresponsibility for trying to cut firefighters while choosing to spend taxpayers’ money elsewhere and a political float promoted presidential candidate Ron Paul.
The wearing of green was shown off in many different ways. Those who preferred to not have welts from being pinched wore green ranging from “Green Lantern” and Mountain Dew T-shirts to themed shirts saying “I’m Frunk as Drunk,” “Do Not Pinch” and “Kiss Me, I’m Asian.” Fantastic and ridiculous hats were also a favorite among the crowd.
After the parade, the crowd dispersed through congested streets, often relocating to other Irish hangouts around Kansas City and in the Downtown area, such as Kelly’s and Browne’s Irish Market in Westport, O’Dowd’s Little Dublin in the Plaza, The Gaf in Waldo and The Dubliner in Power and Light District.