The seventh annual parade, which starts at noon on Saturday, March 14, will wind its way through downtown Cottleville, featuring more than 100 floats along with other participants. And, as it has drawn before, 50,000 or more spectators may line Weiss Road and Hwy. N to see it go by.
Mike Reiter, the parade chairman for the St. Pat’s Foundation, said the turnout often depends on the weather.
“If it’s a good day, we could have 50,000 or more. Bad weather day might cut that to 25,000,” Reiter said. “Either way, that’s a lot of people.”
The foundation organizes the parade and the “Run for the Helmet” 7K race that precedes it.
Since its beginning, the focus of the parade has been to raise money for charity and create a great community event.
“Ours is a very family-oriented event,” Reiter said.
The parade is expected to feature about 120 floats that will compete for awards.The Lindenwood College Golden Lion marching band and the St. Charles Municipal. Band are expected to be parade participants. And longtime St. Louis radio personality Asher “Smash’’ Benrubi will serve as this year’s parade marshal.
New to this year’s event is “Blarney Bash 2015” a private viewing area for the parade that features food, a beer garden and other refreshments for parade-goers over age 21. The cost is $60 per person or $100 for two people.
Parade and run routes
The parade starts at Warren Elementary School near the intersection of Cottleville Parkway and Weiss Road. It travels down Weiss Road to Hwy. N, then follows the highway through downtown Cottleville and ends at Francis Howell Central High.
Portions of Weiss Road and Hwy. N along the parade route will be closed from 7 a.m.-4 p.m. Portions of Motherhead and Gutermuth roads also will be closed from 7 a.m.-4 p.m.
The 7K run preceding the parade is an event in its own right with an estimated 4,000 runners racing through a 7-kilometer or 4.35-mile course, which includes the parade route and portions of Cottleville Parkway and Mid Rivers Mall Drive. The Run for the Helmet begins at 8 a.m. with fun run participants following behind the runners.
Registration for the race and the fun run ended on March 10.
Parking and shuttles
Also as in years past, parade-goers and runners are asked to park in off-site parking areas and travel to the parade and race on shuttle buses. Runners and parade-goers can park at the former American Furniture store location on Mid-Rivers Mall Drive and at the St. Charles Community College campus, 4601 Mid Rivers Mall Drive.
Eight shuttles will run between 6:30-7:30 a.m.; however, they will not operate from 7:45-9:30 a.m. during the run. The shuttles will resume from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and will stop running at 5 p.m.
Passengers will be dropped off and picked up at Cottleville Wine Cellars, at Bemo’s Grill and at the Cottleville Fire District Station 1, all along Hwy. N.
A shuttle bus with a lift for wheelchairs will pick up and drop off parade-goers at the American Furniture parking lot and at the fire station.
No private golf carts are allowed along the parade route from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. on March 14.
Playoff Sports Bar and Grill in O’Fallon and Two Shamrocks Public House on Hwy. K also will run shuttles on March 14 from 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Coolers and personal items are allowed on the parade route but should be able to fit in the lap of a shuttle passenger and not take up aisle space or additional seating.
Still time to volunteer
Reiter said installing as many as 200 parking signs at subdivision entrances is one example of the details that the foundation and its volunteers have to master to make the event possible.
Another example is the 110 porta potties that will be in place not only along the route but near a few area businesses to help prevent their restrooms from being overused.
As the big day approaches, volunteers continue to come out, Reiter said.
“Some of these people really take possession of this event,” he said.
To learn how to volunteer or for additional information on the parade, the Run for the Helmet 7K and the St. Pat’s Foundation, visit stpatparade.org.