CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Despite temperatures hovering around the freezing mark and winds making it feel even colder, hardy spectators and participants turned out for the St. Patrick’s Parade on Saturday, March 11, 2023, in downtown Cedar Rapids.
This year was the second time organizers with SaPaDaPaSo — the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society — moved the traditional parade to a day other than March 17.
Last year, organizers cited a challenge with finding volunteers during the workweek in moving the parade to the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.
The blustery weather prompted some units to opt out, such as the popular Czech Heritage Foundation float, because of concerns for the young children in the Czech Royal Court sitting out in the cold.
Snow flurries held off until later in the afternoon, and while temperatures dampened turnout, a number of entries entertained the smaller than usual crowd, with the Jim & Jo Glynn Memorial Award “Most Entertaining Entry” going to Iowa Fun Drummin’.
As COVID-19 concerns elevated in March 2020, organizers decided to cancel the parade, which had been held, rain or shine, since 1976.
In 2021, before COVID-19 vaccine was widely available, the parade was moved to Hawkeye Downs in southwest Cedar Rapids, where organizers held “the first and last, one of a kind race track parade.”
Spectators stayed in their vehicles and drove around to view parade entries that remained stationary inside the track.
See photos from the 2021 parade and more photos from 2023, below: