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Green galore as Crosslake St. Patrick's Day returns with a bang

Impressive floats, mountains of candy and creative costumes galore — including among the four-legged spectators — came together in an emerald sea that washed over the small city as part of the 48th Annual Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration.

A float featuring a large rainbow is surrounded by people carrying green buckets of candy and onlookers.
A float created by Quality Fabricating/Radtke Service parades along the route Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Crosslake St. Patrick's Parade and Celebration. The 48th annual event was the first since 2019 after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. The Quality Fabricating/Radtke Service float won first prize.
Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch

CROSSLAKE — Sunshine and above-normal temperatures only amplified the celebratory mood of tens of thousands of green-clad perennial paradegoers and first-timers at Crosslake’s signature community event Saturday, March 19, after a three-year hiatus.

Impressive floats, mountains of candy and creative costumes galore — including among the four-legged spectators — came together in an emerald sea that washed over the small city as part of the 48th Annual Crosslake St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Celebration. It was the first time since 2019 that crowds mobbed the heart of the city’s business district for the day of Irish-themed revelry following two years of cancellations because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

A girl dressed in green throws candy alongside a float covered in shiny green and gold fringe and a large hat with "Happy St. Patrick's Day" on it.
A girl throws candy to paradegoers Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Crosslake St. Patrick's Parade and Celebration.
Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch

“The anticipation of it, I think, was just really, really up there. And thank goodness, the weather cooperated and we had a beautiful day for it,” said Cindy Myogeto, director of the Crosslake Chamber of Commerce. “You know, I always say that there’s going to be thousands of people that come to the parade no matter what the weather is. And then if we have a good weather day, there’s going to be double that amount of people.”

Parade floats and participants at the Crosslake St. Patrick's Parade and Celebration.
A festively dressed woman walks a rainbow coifed pooch Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Crosslake St. Patrick's Parade and Celebration.
Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch

With the temperature nearing 50 degrees as the parade was underway Saturday afternoon, many arrived earlier in the day to stake claim to viewing turf or to take in some of the pre-parade entertainment and festivities. The morning began with nearly 500 walkers and runners getting their steps in as part of the Clover Dash 5K. Hot dog and pizza sales at the Crosslake Community School family fun event were through the roof, Myogeto said, and area businesses hosting parade-day parties were a significant draw.

For those making a day of it, cozy spots with chairs and blankets mixed with potluck picnics, dance parties and plenty of beverages of various strengths. Myogeto, who was in the parade this year, said even on the typically less-populated northern end of the route, the crowds were thick.

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Myogeto said this year’s judges had a tough time narrowing down the awards with so many spectacular floats.

Spectators at the Crosslake St. Patrick's Parade and Celebration.
People enjoy the festivities Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Crosslake St. Patrick's Parade and Celebration.
Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch

“They just thoroughly embrace it. You talk to any one of those businesses that build a float and they’ll tell you how much fun it is to get their employees and their staff together to have a team effort to do something like that,” she said. “ … It’s hard to not give everyone a kudos for putting them all together, because there were some really cool floats in the parade this year.”

Those ultimately recognized for outstanding floats were Quality Fabricating/Radtke Service in first place, First National Bank in second place and Moonlite Bay Family Restaurant in third place. The Crosslake-Ideal Lions won best float for nonprofit organizations. The winner of the “Most Enthusiastic” prize will be announced Monday morning on WJJY.

Parade floats and participants at the Crosslake St. Patrick's Parade and Celebration.
People enjoy the festivities Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the Crosslake St. Patrick's Parade and Celebration. The 48th annual event was the first since 2019 after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic.
Chelsey Perkins / Brainerd Dispatch

It’s a true community effort, Myogeto said, from event planning and float creation to those providing food, portable restrooms, extra trash cans, shuttle rides for parade participants and clean-up services after the paradegoers dissipate.

“I’m really proud of the community. There’s so many different businesses and people and volunteers involved in making this thing work,” she said. “ … It’s really nice to live in a community where everybody just pitches in and makes things like this work.”

CHELSEY PERKINS, community editor, may be reached at 218-855-5874 or chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com . Follow on Twitter at twitter.com/DispatchChelsey .

Related Topics: CROSSLAKEBRAINERD EVENTS
Chelsey Perkins is the community editor of the Brainerd Dispatch. A lakes area native, Perkins joined the Dispatch staff in 2014. She is the Crow Wing County government beat reporter and the producer and primary host of the "Brainerd Dispatch Minute" podcast.
Reach her at chelsey.perkins@brainerddispatch.com or at 218-855-5874 and find @DispatchChelsey on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
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