The Incredible Hulk should feel right at home this St. Patrick’s Day in Rolla, and not just because he’s green. The theme for the 2007 St. Pat’s Parade in downtown Rolla is “Super Heroes and Super Villains.”
The parade will start at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 17. Organizers who plan St. Pat’s events at the University of Missouri-Rolla and in the Rolla community ask that parade floats, including floats entered by businesses, be clearly associated with super heroes or villains. Organizers include student members of UMR’s St. Pat’s Committee. The students are advised by community supporters and the Honorary Knights of Saint Patrick. For more information about participating in the parade, call Mike Guerin at 573-364-6434 or 816-304-8605.
This is the 99th St. Pat’s celebration in Rolla. The St. Pat’s Committee, which is popularly known as the St. Pat’s Board, is already looking ahead to the 100th celebration next year. “We are expecting 1,250 alumni of the board for next year, going back to 1945,” says Dr. Lance Haynes, the UMR faculty advisor who helps students plan the events.
Many traditions, including painting Pine Street green, have evolved over the years. Haynes says undergraduate members of the St. Pat’s Committee start mixing vast quantities of paint at 3 a.m. on the morning of the parade. At 6 a.m., alumni sit down to a breakfast of biscuits and gravy. Then alumni, students, and members of the community use up to 100 mops to paint the street and, sometimes, to paint each other.
“It’s fast drying and it washes off pretty quickly,” says Haynes, noting that the formula was developed with help from UMR chemists and engineers.
In addition to a lot of green parade participants, there will probably be a lot of bearded super heroes and super villains this year. Male members of the St. Pat’s Committee aren’t supposed to shave for 50 days leading up to the parade.
There are plenty of other St. Pat’s traditions in Rolla, too. But are there any secret traditions or customs that Haynes would care to divulge? “No secret traditions,” he says with a smile.