"World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade" in Hopkins

Parade participants proudly show off their green Irish attire. (Sun Staff photos taken by Alyssa Krekelberg)

The 43rd annual World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take to the streets of Hopkins, beginning at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 17.

Participants will wear green as they make their way four blocks from the American Legion, 10 12th Ave. S., to the Elks Lodge, 30 Eighth Ave. S.

The American Legion’s color guard will lead the parade to the lodge. There will be hot Reuben sandwiches, corned beef dinner and fish and chips served there from noon until 6 p.m.

The tradition began informally in 1975 by Hopkins women and friends who attended the St. Paul parade, and thought they might as well bring the tradition to their hometown.

“It was four gals. Joan Carr told me, ‘We’re going to have a St. Patrick’s Day parade in Hopkins!’ I said, ‘We are?’” reflected Harriet Lodermeier.

They would wait for the children to get out of school from St. Gabriel the Archangel’s St. Joseph, then start from there.

“We didn’t do any big-time planning. All the Irish met there and we marched down Mainstreet,” said Lodermeier.

They marched until they got to the Tremont Plaza, then turned around and marched back, but not without attracting more walkers along the way.

“It started out with family and friends, and then other people started joining in. People would come out of bars and hoot and holler,” laughed Lodermeier. “Of course, if they came out too late, it was over.”

Indeed, the Sun newspaper stated in a 1976 paper: “The Hopkins St. Patrick’s Day parade may not have been the best organized Irish celebration in the Twin Cities area, but its participants were certainly among the most enthusiastic.”

As the years passed and other organizations got involved, longtime Elks Lodge member Virgil Evanstad became thought of by many people as the de facto organizer of the parade.

At the 32nd annual parade, Evanstad awarded the four women with a plaque that recognizes them as its “grand marshals” and commemorates them as the original starters.

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I am a reporter for the Sun Sailor, covering Minnetonka, Excelsior, Shorewood, Tonka Bay, Deephaven, Greenwood, Woodland and the Hopkins School District.

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