By Jill Harmacinski
---- — LAWRENCE — While you’re finishing up last-minute shopping and waiting for Santa’s arrival, a group of city residents is already thinking green.
The city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is coming back in the new year. Organizers have already set the date for the classic city event for Saturday, March 15.
Canceled three years ago due to financial constraints, the rebirth of the St. Pat’s parade is a priority for new city Mayor Daniel Rivera.
“He is very much involved and supportive of the effort. A lot of the people on the committee are energized by his victory,” said Thomas Cuddy, a native Lawrencian and Irishman who is a Lawrence police detective. Cuddy is serving as chairman of this year’s parade committee.
So far the committee has about 15 core members, with strong support from the Lawrence Fire Department and the Relief’s In.
“They are playing a big part in this,” said Cuddy, referring to Lawrence firefighters.
Others have previous involvement organizing the parade.
“There’s a ton of people worked to put this together,” Cuddy said. “Our hope is to do the best we can with this year’s parade, given the time we have.”
The parade will be entirely privately funded and a fundraiser is set for Friday, Feb. 7 at the Reliefs In, 1 Market St.
Anyone person, business or group interesting in participating or donating to the parade can email the committee at Lawrencestpatsparade2014@gmail.com.
Parade details will also be posted on Facebook under the “Lawrence St. Patrick’s Day Parade Returns” page. The page already has more than 660 likes.
Supporters want to bring the St. Patrick’s Day parade back to the city as an annual event. After this parade is over, the committee will immediately start meeting again to plan the next parade, Cuddy said.
“The goal is immediately after this one to start on the next one. There’s a lot of energy and ideas,” he said.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade is part of a series of Irish Month events in March that include the annual St. Patrick’s Day luncheon, a dinner dance, lectures and more.
Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.