Not just luck of the Irish: Kansas City parade goes off smoothly - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

Not just luck of the Irish: Kansas City parade goes off smoothly

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Sunshine and relatively mild weather brought out the crowds for the St. Patrick's Day parade in Westport, and Kansas City police reported few issues.

One man was questioned after he allegedly interfered with a mounted patrol by elbowing the horse in the nose. No arrests were issued during the parade, which kicked off at 11 a.m. Monday.

Kansas City police spent months planning for the nation's fifth largest St. Patrick's Day parade.

Police Capt. Tye Grant said few events see more police personnel and equipment than the March 17 parade.

"We have over 300 department members assigned to the parade," he said.

Most of the officers are stationed on the route itself. Mounted officers, officers on foot and officers in patrol cars filled the area.

DUI checkpoints are set up to capture revelers who reveled more than they should have.

Ireland's County of Meath Mayor John Farrelly was on hand for what he says is one of the most spectacular parades he's seen.

"I'm so proud of the effort that the Irish Americans make to keep their identity and keep Ireland alive across the world," Farrelly said.

Former Royals great Frank White was the parade's grand marshal. He was thrilled by the honor.

"When they first told me, I had to pinch myself. You've got to be kidding me," he said. "Everybody's Irish today. Everybody is filtered through green lenses today, which is great."

White is running for the Jackson County Legislature, and his campaign manager, Pat O'Neill, is one of the parade's leaders. Sherwood Smith, a firefighter union leader, is also running for the seat expected to be vacated by Legislator Theresa Garza Ruiz.

After the 130 floats had passed by, hundreds if not thousands of spectators stayed to enjoy the festive atmosphere.

Kelly's Westport Inn was packed during one of its busiest days of the year. The cover charge was $5.

All the proceeds from the cover charge on Monday went to Welcome House, which is a rehabilitation facility for alcoholics and drug addicts. An estimated 4,000 will pay the cover charge on Monday, which will bring much-needed funds to Welcome House.

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