At the Lake of the Ozarks, St. Patrick's Day is celebrated by all individuals who want to share in Irish heritage despite their own ancestry.
With a wide variety of events including parades, dances and corned beef dinners, Lake area residents and guests enjoyed St. Patrick's Day throughout the weekend. From Irish music and traditional Irish food at many of the Lake Area's popular restaurants and resorts to a special pub crawl for those wanting to take in that refreshing green beverage, it was a true kick-off to the Lake's popular tourist and boating season.
Two of the Lake's largest Irish holiday traditions are the St. Patrick's Day Parade on the Water and the annual Lake of the Ozarks St. Patrick's Day Parade in Lake Ozark. Thousands cruise, ride and participate in these events from across the Midwest.
Sponsored by the Lake West Chamber of Commerce, the 2014 St. Patrick's Parade on the Water began Saturday morning with a breakfast for boaters, boat-goers and guests before the fleet departed from Ozark Bar-B-Que in Sunrise Beach.
Boats adorned with this year's "Wild Wild WESTside?" theme "paraded" down the Gravois Arm of Lake of the Ozarks following a traditional blessing of the fleet from Rev. Patrick Dolan of St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Laurie.
Boats and passengers aboard Tropic Island Cruise boat trip down the Lake stopped at three destinations - Richard Knoggins, Coconuts and Jolly Rogers - along the way before heading back to Ozark Bar-B-Que for an after party and awards ceremony.
Sponsored by the Bagnell Dam Strip Association, the 30th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade was held Saturday afternoon in Lake Ozark. Thousands of spectators lined nearly all of Bagnell Dam Boulevard and Bagnell Dam Strip as the parade traveled down to the dam.
This year's grand marshal was U.S. Air Force Col. Michael Hopkins, a current NASA astronaut, Lake native and School of the Osage graduate. Since he was in space at the time of the parade, Osage students created an artistic rendering of Hopkins to ride in Saturday's parade.
The parade hosted more than 100 participants including Christopher Brown of the "Joe Brown Clan" as the Honorary Leprechaun.
First, second and third places were awarded in both business and civic categories as well as "Best in Parade." Trophy recipients' names were not available at press time.
St. Patrick's Day enthusiasts also enjoyed attending the Linn Creek/Osage Beach Lions Club annual Pancake Flip, Eldon Park and Recreation's Annual St. Patrick's Day 5K Run/Walk in downtown Eldon and the first-ever Shamrock "n' Roll 5K Run/Walk, which benefited Kids' Harbor.
Guests also shuffled over to participate in the Fourth Annual St. Patrick's Short Bus Shuffle, which visited 10 locations on the Lake's west side Saturday afternoon and evening.
The annual St. Patty's Day Open Golf Tournament will be held today at Osage National Golf Resort in Lake Ozark.
The three-person scramble tournament begins at 11 a.m. with a shotgun start. Breakfast will be served to participants and guests at 9 a.m.
The St. Patrick's festivities end Monday with the Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Laurie.
Participants will meet at noon in the parking lot of St. Patrick's Catholic Church.
The parade begins at 1 p.m. and proceeds down Route 5 through the town of Laurie, ending at the Laurie Care Center where Irish songs are sung and balloons are distributed to the residents.