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Downtown Cedar Rapids turns green Sunday for the 44th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade

Parade draws 90 entries, sunny skies

Steve Bryant, who is dressed as St. Patrick, opens at the 2018 SaPaDaPaSo parade in Cedar Rapids. He reprises the role again this year for the 44th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
Steve Bryant, who is dressed as St. Patrick, opens at the 2018 SaPaDaPaSo parade in Cedar Rapids. He reprises the role again this year for the 44th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — Irish eyes will be smiling Sunday afternoon as 90 entries snake through downtown Cedar Rapids in the 44th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

And the National Weather Service predicts a mostly sunny day with highs in the mid-40s.

The usual route has been extended one block, turning on First Street SE to avoid construction on Second Street SE. So the parade will begin at 1 p.m. at Third Avenue and Sixth Street SE, turn onto Second Avenue SE, turn again at First Street SE, then onto Third Avenue SE and back to the appropriately named Greene Square, ending about 2:30 p.m.

Streets along the parade route and staging areas will close to parking at noon Sunday and reopen after parade cleanup, about 3 p.m.

For safety’s sake, organizers remind spectators to stay on the curb so the road won’t rise up to meet you.

Cedar Rapids police will lead in the pace car. St. Patrick, known as Steve Bryant most other days of the year, will follow the flags. On his heels will be Lori Nylund and family, striping the street green. Other entries include 2019 Irish colleen Meredith Glynn, Irish dancers, floats, walking units, families, Johnson County Irish, decorated vehicles, music, Scouts, political candidates, dogs, horses and fire trucks.

All ages are invited to the post-parade celebration and awards ceremony at the Eastbank Venue, 97 Third Ave. SE. Admission is free, and food and beverages will be available for purchase — food is cash-only, so bring some folding green. Music also is on the menu, with a DJ spinning Irish tunes, and the awards will be presented about 4:30 p.m.

Both events are volunteer efforts staged by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society — or SaPaDaPaSo for short.

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