St. Paddy’s Parade set for Monday
New Richmond’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a family-friendly event that promises to bring thousands of revelers to the city on Monday.
“It’s a very happy day for people on the streets and in the parade,” said organizer MariBeth Driscoll. “It’s the harbinger of spring and people turn out no matter what the weather is.”
The parade is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. on Monday, March 17 in front of McCabe’s Shamrock Club at 123 W. Third St.
The parade route turns north on South Knowles Avenue, west on West First Street, south on South Washington Avenue and east on West Third Street all the way back to the Shamrock.
“The police force told us last year that it’s gotten way bigger than the Fun Fest parade,” Driscoll said.
Denny Early and his wife Edna Grotjahn Early have been chosen as the grand marshals of this year’s parade.
Denny’s Irish heritage is deep, and also deeply connected to the New Richmond area.
Denny’s great-grandfather Michael came to America from Ireland in 1865 and eventually settled in Erin Prairie. In 1874 he married Mary Lynch at St. Patrick ‘s Church in Erin Prairie, and the couple raised nine children.
According to Denny, Michael danced the Irish jig on his 102nd birthday, just a few months before he passed away.
“Of the nine children he had, several of them stayed in New Richmond,” Denny said. “The connections run deep, and St. Patrick’s Day in our family has always been an event passed down from all these generations.”
Though he grew up in River Falls, where his father was a plumber, Denny always had a close connection to New Richmond through his grandfather who was a New Richmond plumber. Denny views the opportunity to be this year’s grand marshal as a way to honor the Earlys who came before him.
“I’m honored, and I’m especially excited to be involved for my dad and to represent his family,” Denny said. “He actually was born in New Richmond.”
After growing up in River Falls, Denny moved to New Richmond himself and has lived in the community for more than 40 years. Both he and Edna are retired from careers at WITC where Denny taught math and Edna served as student life coordinator.
Though Edna doesn’t share Denny’s deep history of connections to Ireland, she does celebrate Irish heritage.
“I married into the family, so I’m not at all Irish,” Edna said. “Everyone wants to be Irish, and can pretend at least on St. Patrick’s Day.”