The nation’s only interstate St. Patrick’s Day Parade steps off in Rock Island Saturday morning before crossing the Centennial Bridge into Davenport. Friday night, last-minute float preparations were underway across the Quad Cites.
Despite cooling outdoor temperatures, it was downright tropical in Rock Island, where it only took the Quad City Parrotheads Club about two hours to complete its ninth St. Patrick’s Day Parade float.
“Our theme will be ‘Welcome to Our Island,’ but we’re gonna kinda take the ‘S’ out and add an ‘R-E’ for Ireland; stay as close as we can to the Irish theme,” said member Mike Malmstead.
The float includes an 8-foot dolphin, 6-foot tall margarita glass, and nearly 3,000 sets of green beads. Over its history, the club has taken home eight trophies for “Most Unique” parade entry.
“As far as pressure, you know, it was my design this year, so if we don’t get a trophy, I guess its me,” laughed Malmstead.
For members, though, it’s not about the trophies, but good times and good music. They say the best part about St. Pat’s in the Quad Cities is the people.
“The crowd was humongous all the way. And you know, you throw out beads, you talk to people, it’s just fun,” said Gerald Brown.
“You get that kinda lull before the storm going over the bridge, and then when you hit downtown Davenport, you get down towards the tail end there — it’s total mayhem, it’s hard to even get a float through, there’s so many people,” added Malmstead.
Saturday’s parade steps off at 11:30 a.m. Click here to see the complete parade route and street closures.