CEDAR RAPIDS — For 44 years, one celebration has been a mainstay for Cedar Rapids in March.
The St. Patrick’s Day Parade — or SaPaDaPaSo (which consists of the first two letters of St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society) — will take place Sunday in downtown Cedar Rapids.
Junior Hannah Hinkel has participated in this parade every year since she was born.
“It has been a tradition in my family for 28 years, and we have so much fun doing it,” Hinkel said.
For Hinkel, preparations for the parade begin months in advance.
“We generally spend about two months coming up with a theme, song, costumes and decorations for the float,” Hinkel said.
Hinkel’s family has done a variety of themes in the past.
“We’ve done lots of crazy things, like Green Solo Cup (instead of Red Solo Cup), Willy McWonka and the Irish Oompa Loompas, and the Fighting Irish,” Hinkel said. “This year we’re actually having a wedding for our float. My uncle and his fiancee wanted a casual, but unique wedding, so they’re getting married on the float.”
This event is a source of many memories for Hinkel.
“My favorite memory from the parade was probably the year that we did Irish Gangnam Style, and we had to do that dance the entire time we were out there (about 6 or 7 blocks!)” Hinkel said.
Along with Hinkel and her family, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an important event for other members of the Cedar Rapids community.
For St. Patrick’s Church parishioners, the event is an important celebration of their heritage.
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“The Irish people who came to Cedar Rapids, for the most part, lived in the neighborhoods surrounding St. Patrick’s Church,” Father Ivan Nienhaus, the priest of St. Patrick’s Church, said. “They are the ones who built the church, and I think the parade is a special event because we’re keeping their memory alive.”
The parade will take place March 17 from 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. in downtown Cedar Rapids.