By Jerri Whitner, student contributor
Excitement was in the air on the campus of Alice Lloyd College as students, faculty, and staff lined up for ALC’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Thursday, March 9th. A small march was held last year, but thanks to the sponsorship of ALC history professor, Dr. Stephen Wilson, and a committee of interested students, faculty, and staff, the humble march transformed into an exciting parade.
Parade Overseer, Lindsay Blanken, a junior History and English major, helped organize the parade. The parade included an Irish inspired dance performed by Neisha Tackett, a sophomore Elementary Education major, and Josh Blankenship, a senior Social Studies Education major. In addition, the ALC Voices of Appalachia also performed an Irish song, Mo Ghile. Those in attendance were thoroughly captivated by the parade, cheering as many of the participants tossed candy, green beads, and gold candy coins from their floats. The following is a list of parade participants:
- The Marine Color Guard from Perry County Central High School
- Irish Flag Bearers- senior History and English majors, Drake Grizzell and Mary Isaacs
- Parade Marshals- The McLeese-Walter’s Family
- Pippa Passes Mayor Scott Cornett
- ALC Student Government Association
- ALC Phi Beta Lambda
- ALC Student Work Office
- ALC Volleyball team
- “Dogs and Companions” led by ALC English professor Dr. Cindy Salmons
- The “Red-Haired Band” led by various ALC students celebrating their red hair
- “Leprechaun and the Irish Colleens” led by Dr. Wilson
- Pippa Passes Fire truck along with Fire Marshal Diamond Slone
- Pippa Passes Police Department
Everyone who participated in Alice Lloyd College’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade helped to honor the deeply rich heritage of our region. As people danced, laughed, and sang, they not only learned more about their history, but they experienced it. While every year thousands celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by donning their green attire and shamrocks, the ultimate purpose of the ALC parade was to pay tribute to the Scotch-Irish influence left by early settlers on the culture of Eastern Kentucky.
Dr. Wilson and the committee clarified their purpose was “[t]o inspire ALC students to gain an interest in the history of the Irish and the history of their Appalachian culture.” When Mrs. Lloyd traveled to Appalachia, she found a group of people with a deep appreciation for the culture that solidified their everyday life. It has been one hundred years after Mrs. Lloyd settled this region, and the region is still steeped in appreciation for its rich history.