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St. Patrick's Day festivities set Saturday in Brainerd, Crosslake

Beautiful blue skies and sun combined with wintry temperatures and snow-covered streets for the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Brainerd in 2013. Renee Richardson / Brainerd Dispatch 1 / 2
Wearing green, children ride the Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant and Bar float along County Highway 66 last March in Crosslake during the 44th Annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year the 45th annual parade will start 2 p.m. Saturday in Crosslake. Brainerd will also host a parade beginning at 1 p.m. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch file photo 2 / 2

It's that time of year again for leprechauns, pots of gold and everything green.

Sunday is St. Patrick's Day, so Crosslake and Brainerd are gearing up for their annual parades and festivities this Saturday, March 16.

Brainerd

The St. Patrick's Day medallion hunt is underway in Brainerd, with clues running in the Brainerd Dispatch March 11-15. The first person to find the medallion and return it to Shep's on Sixth by 1 p.m. Saturday will earn a $250 cash prize.

The kids costume contest will kick off events Saturday, with registration starting at 11:30 a.m. at the Brainerd Veterans of Foreign Wars, with the first 30 participants receiving goody bags. The contest starts at noon and will award a bicycle for the first-place boy and girl and special prize packages for second and third places.

Other kids activities, like caricature drawings, will take place inside the VFW from noon to 1 p.m.

The 19th annual downtown St. Patrick's Day parade starts at 1 p.m. With about 25 participants already signed up, Brainerd Community Action Director Cassie Carey said there are still about three or four spots left for anyone who's interested in a last-minute float entry. Parade entries are $25 or free for nonprofits.

"The idea is to get further outreach into the community," Carey said of the free entry.

Those interested in entering the parade can call Carey at 218-821-6975.

The Best of Parade winner will receive $100 and a night of lodging at Comfort Suites. First place is $50 to spend at Grand Casino Mille Lacs and one night of lodging. Second place is $25 and dinner for two at Prairie Bay.

Crosslake

Up in Crosslake, spectators will line County Highway 66 for the 45th annual parade. The event starts at 2 p.m., but Crosslake Chamber Director Cindy Myogeto said Thursday people have already started trying to save parking spots for the festivities.

With snow, slush and standing water plaguing many streets in the area, Myogeto said city and county crews have been working hard to get them cleaned off in time for the parade and to allow maximum parking spaces.

"I've got to give (the city) a shoutout for all the work that they're doing this year to make the streets ready," she said. "They are just moving pounds and pounds and pounds of snow."

For those worried about parking, the new Crosslake Community School—right on the parade route at the corner of County Highway 66 and Swann Drive—is selling parking spots, with the proceeds going toward new playground equipment. The school will also have a family carnival 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Saturday with games, face painting, a book walk, food and prizes.

New this year is the Chase for the Lucky Leprechaun in place of the ever-popular pot of gold hunt. Instead of releasing three clues over three days to reveal the place of the pot of gold prize, Myogeto said the chamber will release one clue at 3:30 p.m. Friday, leading participants on a scavenger hunt through town to find the prize.

A new event at 9 a.m. Saturday morning will be the Kids Clover Dash—prior to the 5K race—allowing children to run around the gazebo area in Town Square and receive T-shirts and medals.

As always, Town Square will be buzzing with entertainment Saturday, including motorcycles on display from Viking Land Harley-Davidson.

Several local establishments have entertainment and events scheduled after the parade.

For a full list of events, visit " target="_blank">bit.ly/2Cl3OWq.

Theresa Bourke

I started at the Dispatch in July 2018, covering Brainerd city government and the Brainerd School District. I follow city and school board officials as they make important decisions for residents and students and decide how to spend taxpayer dollars. I look for feature story ideas among those I meet and enjoy, more than anything, helping individuals tell their stories and show what makes them unique.

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