Community members lined up and down the sidewalks of downtown Muncie in attempt to catch a glimpse of the sea of green parading down Walnut Street this afternoon.
First established more than 38 years ago, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade allows people to come together as one community to celebrate the holiday.
“I think it is an important event [in Muncie] because it brings the community together,” said Troy Ingram, city council candidate. “It gets a lot of people together to enjoy our city and all the things that we have going on here.”
For some, the parade is more about the cheerful experience they can share with their family and friends and less about the holiday.
“It’s festive, and you get to interact with the people [of Muncie],” said Amanda Dunnuck, a Muncie city judge candidate. “Everyone is having a good time [with their families, while] laughing and joking.”
According to Cheryl Crowder, the event director of Muncie Downtown Development Partnership (MDDP), the first idea for an annual parade came from Jim Carey, the previous Muncie mayor, around 40 years ago.
“[Carey] was of Irish descent, so the holiday was a big deal for him, and I think they even turned the river green one year and similar [activities] like that,” Crowder said.
To plan the parade every year, MDDP begins by creating an entry call-out on its social media platforms. For non-profit organizations, families and neighborhoods, float entry fees cost $25. For businesses entering, costs rise to $50, and political campaigners top the list at $75.
With the help of the Muncie City Police Department, the MDDP works to create a clear path for the parade to march through in order to ensure the safety of both the entries and attendees.
During the parade, members on floats could pass out candy and advertisements. Because it is a political year, many political candidates handed out flyers.
“I decided to run for political office this year,” Ingram said. “I knew [the parade] was a good way to get visibility and put my name out there.”
Many of the children lining the streets were more interested in the sweets than the flyers, as they vied for the perfect spot to prepare themselves for the candy shower.
“There is a lot of candy that gets thrown during this parade, so I think the kids look forward to that,” Crowder said.
As the parade concluded, families gathered back together to head home after the entertaining evening.
“Very few times anymore do you get this many people together that all are having a good time,” Dunnuck said.
Contact Kamryn Tomlinson with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.