Come on out and be ‘Irish for the day’: Wisconsin’s ‘tourism queen’ will be parade grand marshal

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Courier Press file photo

The grand marshal for this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is Stephanie Klett—the former Wisconsin Secretary of Tourism (2011-2018), longtime Discover Wisconsin host and 1992 Miss Wisconsin—who announced last week she’ll start in April as the CEO of Visit Lake Geneva. (Submitted photo)

By Correne Martin

Celebrate the green in Prairie du Chien on Saturday, March 16, at the 26th annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities. Sponsored by the chamber of commerce, the parade will kick off the fun along the packed streets of the downtown at 10 a.m. A continuous stream of entrants will share the shenanigan spirit, tossing out candy, beads, trinkets and other goodies—even potatoes have been doled out in recent years. 

All parade participants are asked to assemble on St. Feriole Island, beginning at 9 a.m. The parade will start from the island and go east on Blackhawk Avenue, then north on Michigan Street and back to the island. 

St. Patrick himself will lead the parade, followed by this year’s royalty. 

The grand marshal for this year’s parade is Stephanie Klett—the former Wisconsin Secretary of Tourism (2011-2018), longtime Discover Wisconsin host and 1992 Miss Wisconsin—who announced last week she’ll start in April as the CEO of Visit Lake Geneva.

Chamber CEO Bob Moses is overjoyed that Klett agreed to be the 2019 grand marshal. He feels “she’s Wisconsin’s tourism queen.”

“She loves Prairie du Chien. She’s been here often and has dedicated many of her tourism efforts here,” Moses said. 

King and Queen for the day will be Cindy McCoy Sutton and Scott Sutton, of Prairie du Chien. They will be the fifth couple of the Buchanan Street Irish group to be royalty in the annual event. Cindy was born to Bill and Pat McCoy of Prairie du Chien. She has one brother David, two sisters Mary and Diana, a daughter Sara and granddaughter Addyson. Scott was born to Lorenzo and Marilyn Sutton, of Seneca. He has two brothers Jon and Kevin. Cindy works at River District Hotel and Scott is employed at 3M.

Cindy participated in the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade with the Prairie Catholic Schools. The Buchanan Street Irish came together for the second year and include the Bill and Pat McCoy family and the Rusty and Dale Boldt family. It has been a familiar group in the parade every year, known as the ones passing out the Irish potatoes. Scott married into this Irish tradition in 2002. Coming from Bohemian heritage (known for being lovers of good food), he particularly enjoys the Irish meal of corned beef and cabbage.

After the parade, residents, visitors and “Irish for the day” revelers are encouraged to stop in at any of the many area businesses that will be serving corned beef and cabbage, green beer and other Irish specialties. Of course, most establishments will offer their regularly delicious menus and traditional drinks that day as well.

The morning of the 16th, the Shamrock Shuffle is a family-friendly activity that can start anyone’s day off with a heart health 5K run/walk. Register the day of the event at Hoffman Hall, beginning at 7 a.m. The race begins at 8 a.m. All funds raised benefit the Hoffman Hall improvement fund. Participants are encouraged to bring non-perishable food donations to be donated to the Couleecap Food Pantry. For more information, call 326-7207.

Also starting at 7 a.m. until the parade, Hardee’s in Prairie du Chien is hosting a Breakfast Buffet fundraiser with all proceeds going toward the Prairie du Chien Memorial Library Capital Campaign Fund. 

Moses said Prairie du Chien, the chamber and many businesses across the community are proud to be a St. Patrick’s Day weekend destination, as the city presents more than enough to do in town all day Saturday.

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