Have you heard? Downtown Rhinelander is hosting our community’s very first St. Patrick’s Day Parade! It’s all happening on Saturday, March 17, at 3 p.m., along Brown Street from the police station south to Anderson Street.
I love how this all came to be. A small group of community-minded folks were conversing at their favorite downtown pub, Pat’s Tavern and they talked about how great it would be to have a parade on Brown Street for St. Patrick’s Day. Well, as I understand they’ve been talking about this for a long time…I hear it’s been “talk” for 10 years! This year, Bill Barnes (one of those community-minded folks) called me and told me the story. I wasn’t sure if this guy was serious until he stopped at our DRI office with a letter proposing a parade and other festivities. He asked what he needed to do next. This guy was serious.
Well, it came together, and I’m tickled to be part of it! Jack Winkler (another one of those community-minded folks) is in charge of the parade. Give him a call at (715) 369-3030 if you’re interested in participating. Join in the fun and consider wearing your favorite Irish costume, or your Hodag green, and walk the parade route. Call your friends and decorate a vehicle or float. I’ve heard there may be a green horse in the parade! Mayor Johns is the parade’s grand marshal. Remember, everyone’s Irish on St. Patty’s day!
Also on St. Patrick’s Day Nancy Lorbetske is coordinating a pub crawl. The crawl is planned from noon to 6 p.m. There is a $5 entry fee; 17 percent cash goes to the winner and 83 percent will go to the Safe Ride program. The drawing is at 7 p.m. at the Knight Gallery.
The downtown merchants are getting in on the green too! Many stores are offering a 17 percent discount on merchandise; to get the discount customers need to wear something green and donate a food item at the store. Participating stores will have a large green shamrock in their window or on the door.
Downtown Rhinelander, Inc. is providing safety patrols at the intersections along the parade route. We are recruiting about 10 volunteers to help with these duties. Would you consider helping us with this? You’d get great up-close view of the parade, and at the end of the day you’d feel you contributed something pretty special to our community. Please give us a call at the DRI office if you could give an hour and a half to this effort. Thank you very much for your consideration.
While we’re crazy being green, did you know this is the time of year Hodags on Parade kicks off?
Hodags on Parade, a project of Downtown Rhinelander, Inc., is in its fourth year. This traffic-building event will be the talk of the town again! The Hodags on Parade team is looking for patron sponsors who would get their name permanently painted on the Hodag! You also get $1,000 of credit to purchase a Hodag at the November auction! Sponsors have the privilege of selecting a design from a collection of ideas created by local artists. The patron sponsor receives publicity all year round!
So far this year, two patron sponsors have said yes-Trig’s and the Rhinelander Cafè & Pub. If you or your business is interested in being a sponsor, or have questions about the program, call me at (715) 362-7374 or Hodags on Parade Project Chair Kathy Brich at (715) 493-3663.
Fully embellished Hodags will be on display at various visible locations in Downtown Rhinelander all summer long! The first sighting of the decorated Hodags will be on June 9 at the Second Saturday in June Car Show and Art on the Courthouse Lawn event in Downtown. On Nov. 10 we will hold an auction to find permanent owners for the Hodags. Proceeds go to our revitalization efforts, including the free parking program, a low interest loan program for business and entrepreneurs, the flower baskets, banners and many other projects.
Have you ever thought about painting a Hodag? We aren’t sure how many years we will carry on this program, so this year might be the time to say “Yes, I want to paint a Hodag!” We are particularly looking for a special design. One of our sponsors is looking for a brightly colored, island-themed Hodag! Go to our website for all details, or give me a call.
We’re having fun being green in downtown Rhinelander!
Sue Bessert is available at the Rhinelander Main Street office, located at 21A S. Brown St. Call her at (715) 362-7374, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.