TRAVERSE CITY — Neither snow nor rain nor winter cold — the achoo kind — can stay Todd McCall from his appointed rounds Saturday.
McCall, a member of the local Ancient Order of Hibernians, will have a hand in launching some of the area’s favorite St. Patrick’s Day celebration events.
The fun begins with the National Cherry Festival’s third annual Leapin’ Leprechaun St. Patty’s Day 5K foot race for all ages. National Cherry Queen Meg Howard will be on hand for the 9 a.m. start in the Warehouse District and will run with participating kids. Registration is $38 for adults and $25 for kids 12 and under. For more information, call 947-4230 or visit cherryfestival.org.
Then it’s on to North Peak Brewing Company for a pre-St. Patrick’s Day parade gathering at noon. That’s when officials will announce this year’s Irish Queen, Irish Lord Mayor, Irish Prince and Princess and Hibernian of the Year, before beginning staging on Hall Street for the 1:30-ish parade.
“It’s open to anyone who wants to walk in the parade,” from Irish setters to St. Patrick’s Church congregants, to Boy Scouts in kilts, McCall said. “It’s for anyone who has an Irish heritage or an Irish enthusiasm.
“Two years ago when we had that super-fantastic weather, everyone came out. We don’t actually take a head count, but we think it was around 5,000 that year.”
The parade, this year led by Grand Marshall Charlie Murphy, a Traverse City-based artist, winds down Front Street by way of Hall, West Front, Pine, State and Park Streets. It wraps up back at North Peak and Kilkenny’s Irish Pub (downstairs) for post-parade entertainment by Song of the Lakes and the Wild Sullys from 2:30-5 p.m. and from 9:30 p.m.-1:30 a.m.