There’s no time like St. Patrick’s Day to honor the average citizens who make up the country.
To that end, the 32nd annual Snake Saturday Parade and Festival kicks off Saturday morning with a theme of “Wee the People.” The event begins at 11 a.m. in North Kansas City.
“We thought it’s only appropriate to use Wee the People,” said J.D. Green, president of Northland Festivals, the volunteer organization that sponsors the Snake Saturday events in North Kansas City every year.
“It’s an election year; with that said, we also are very non-political. We don’t allow politicians to walk in the parade.”
The festival includes a carnival, charity cook-off, children’s area and stage, and a race car show by Central Auto Racing boosters (CARB). “We try to keep this very family oriented,” Green said.
Charles Garney, a Kansas City businessman and philanthropist, will be the grand marshal of the Snake Saturday Parade.
Garney was recognized at the Grand Marshal Celebration March 3. His wife, Patty Garney, was the 1993 Grand Marshal and joined him onstage after the announcement, along with several family members.
“The pure joy on his face as he received his jacket brought tears to the eyes of family, friends and attendees,” said Mindy Hart, publicist for the event, who said the honor was well-deserved.
“If you look anywhere in the Northland, there is something Charles Garney has touched, all of these things he has done. He’s just left a huge footprint on the Northland, specifically, and all over Kansas City.
The Shamrock Award went to Terry Loos who has pulled the Grand Marshal float — complete with a giant green snake — at the event for 20 years.
“He’s always kind of remained behind the scenes willing to serve and willing to do whatever’s he’s asked,” Hart said. “He was so emotional. It really touched his heart to be honored in that way.”
Green notes that the Shamrock Award goes to someone who has put time and effort into the parade.
“Twenty years worth is a lot of time and effort,” Green said. “History is going to be in the making because this will be the first time the Shamrock Award winner will precede the grand marshal, if only a few feet.”
The annual festival is an opportunity to give back to the charities of the Northland, Green said.
“We will give out over $50,000-plus in prize money to various organizations, and a big part of it is thanks to our sponsors, the largest being North Kansas City Hospital.”
Since the first Snake Saturday parade in the parking lot of the Rodeway Inn in North Kansas City in 1983, more than $1.2 million has been donated to charity.
Co-founders of the Snake Saturday parade were businessman Mickey Finn and sportscaster Bill Grigsby; both are deceased.
The parade starts at 14th and Swift and heads north to Armour Road, then travels east on Armour to Howell Street.
Organizers expect up to 100,000 people attending the events. Prizes will be awarded to parade entries, including the top marching band.
To learn more
▪ For information on Snake Saturday events in North Kansas City go to snakesaturday.com.