Getting into the Irish spirit

LUCAN – The “wearing of the green” took on a distinctly Minnesotan feel in Lucan on Sunday. Many of the people gathered for the town’s 27th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade were wearing green parkas, sweatshirts, or loads of layers in the chilly wind.

It was quite a change from last year – “It was nice last year, when it was 80 degrees out,” one onlooker said. But a little weather wasn’t going to keep people from having some fun and celebrating Irish heritage.

“On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone’s Irish,” said Mike McKeown of Seaforth. McKeown was getting ready to serve as grand marshal of the parade, wearing a tall green hat borrowed for the occasion.

“I was a little surprised, because I’m not from Lucan,” McKeown said of being offered the honor. “Evidently, they ran out of Irishmen,” to be grand marshal, he joked. But he was happy to take part in the celebration. McKeown is a deacon serving a group of churches, including one in Lucan. In a program following the parade, McKeown talked about his family history and sang “Danny Boy” for the audience.

“This is an Irish baritone,” instead of an “Irish Tenor,” he said.

Kids and youth were some of the most enthusiastic participants in the festivities Sunday. They dressed up to hand out candy, waved from the windows of the Milroy Irish’s green-and-white team bus and painted shamrocks on their faces.

“I’ve got (temporary) tattoos everywhere,” Kendall Kelly said, her face covered in shamrocks.

Hailey and Addison Jensen pulled out all the stops for their outfits to march in the parade with the kids of Trinity Lutheran Church. Both girls were wearing plenty of green in their clothing, plus jewelry and shamrock-shaped sunglasses. Hailey Jensen topped it all off with a neon-green wig.

“I got it about a week ago,” she said. While Hailey Jensen said her family was only “kind of” Irish, she was having a lot of fun celebrating St. Patrick’s Day.

“I just like dressing up a lot,” she said.