The Beginnings of
Wearin’ of the Green
The first Wearin’ of the Green, St Patrick’s Day Parade rolled on March 15, 1986.
It consisted of antique cars, convertibles, twirlers, scouts, close family and friends. The route was much shorter than it is now since it was from City Park Golf Course to just over the overpass at an establishment called ZeeZee Gardens (no longer there). Blessed with a sunny day, Pat Shingleton began his day with an Irish breakfast and started his annual tradition of walking with family at the end of the parade.
It was a year earlier when he and his wife, Mabyn, were visiting his hometown when they finalized their purchase of ZeeZee Gardens Pub with two friends and brother, Kevin. As Shingleton watched the St. Patrick’s Day Parade line-up on the Boulevard of the Allies in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, his parade vision began to crystallize. Zee Zee’s would become synonymous with the parade being the primary place for Irish Club meetings. In the years that followed, Krewe Captain Safety meetings were held at the Our Lady of Mercy Parish Activity Center and the East Baton Rouge School Board Office. In 2015, Safety Information for the Krewes went online. You’ll find this parade rich with green and white and customized Mardi Gras type beads.
The Rest of the Story is History…
No one would have ever expected sleet and a little hail but that is what occurred early March 18 prior to the parade festivities beginning.
We were happy to have Planters Nutmobile and Mr. Peanut, whose outfit had definitely been upgraded, join us for the parade. The Clydesdales, once again, led the parade in grand style followed closely by Grand Marshal Tim Mocker with his Budweiser branded float.
Grand Marshal Todd Graves ruled over a truly epic year for our parade history.
The crowds and enthusiasm were invigorating. Riding with Todd were wife, Gwen, and popular American rapper Nelly. Mockler Beverage Budweiser brought back the Budweiser Clydesdales to the delight of the crowds. This was a very musical year as you’ll read about on Todd Graves page. We were excited to have the Southern University Band, the Human Jukebox, play again in conjunction with the Raising Canes entourage. The Ocean of Soul, the Texas Southern University Band, was brought to Baton Rouge by Bernhard Capital. This was the first year that Cooking in Central brought its volunteer cooking to our events. The Big Idaho Potato Truck was our invited guest but due to size limitations, it was decided not to have it try to make the parade route. Our 3rd Shamrock Run went off without a hitch thanks to our sponsors. Please visit the Shamrock Run on this site.
Our 35th Grand Marshal, Todd Graves, was announced on Halfway Day October 2019.
The Saturday prior to the planned parade, the first Emerald Party was held at a downtown venue featuring Snoop Dogg. Two days prior to the 2020 parade, we were compelled to postpone it due to the pandemic. Parade History will show that 2020 and 2021 flew by without a parade due to the covid pandemic.
This year ushered several new things.
The inaugural 5K Shamrock Run on the historic parade route was so much fun! This was also the first year we published the Wearin’ of the Green Official Parade Publication. The Oscar Meyer Wienermobile rolled again with us and we were highly entertained by the Southern University Band, the Human Jukebox. It was the first year of the Parade Flags. We mailed one flag to each of our oldest Krewes.
The public can now order limited edition parade prints, cups and tee shirts. We were pleased to welcome back The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and Planters NUTMobile.
Honored the Sacrifices of the men and women who protect us daily, our law enforcement.
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile and Planters NUTMobile were fun additions for this year’s parade.
Mockler Beverage brings the world famous Clydesdales to lead the parade!
Drizzling wet weather kept major crowds away but it was a great day for thousands.
The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile rolled in our route for the first time.
Special provisions were made due to crumbling concrete supports on the Overpass Bridge
The Parade Group, LLC was formed to manage the year-round activities of the parade.
Due to a Mardi Gras parade tragedy, police publicized that their DWI van would be on hand for our parade to ‘help prevent’ drivers from driving while intoxicated.
Friends of the Parade, orchestrated by Donna and Rene Esnard, rallied to keep parade in Hundred Oaks neighborhood. Obtained over 600 signatures.
Final year of annual street-party at the foot of the Overpass on Perkins Road.
New Parade Route starts Hundred Oaks at South Acadian Thruway.
First year for Wearin’ of the Green Walking Parade – Parade route started at the City Park Golf Course to Zee Zee Gardens.
Pat Shingleton was asked to cover the downtown St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Once there, he asked if the parade was starting to line up but was told by then Mayor Pat Screen’s assistant, Rochelle McCann, that what he was seeing ‘was the parade.’ (It was ridiculously small.)
(Chief Weathercaster at WBRZ TV 1981-2021)