By Anne Marie Amacher
The Catholic Messenger
“Christmas isn’t in August … but neither is St. Patrick’s Day.” That was the theme of the float sponsored by St. Anthony Parish in Davenport in the St. Patrick Society of the Quad Cities Grand Parade XXXV.2 on Aug. 28. The bi-state parade, traditionally held in March, was postponed until August due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Kim Nofsker, the parish’s music director, said this was the first year for St. Anthony to participate in the parade. The former St. Mary Parish in Davenport, which merged with St. Anthony in July 2020, previously entered a float in the parade, providing the impetus for St. Anthony to participate.
Months ago, Nofsker said she was awake at 1 a.m. and thought about a parade entry. In addition to a float, why not have the ukulele and guitar groups from the parish participate? That led to an entry with a Nativity theme. The idea was a hit with the parish staff and musicians.
Participants either rode on the float during the parade or walked alongside with their instruments. They alternated between performances of “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” and “Feliz Navidad.” Nofsker said the ukulele and guitar groups are comprised of parishioners from St. Anthony and Catholics from other area parishes and non-Catholics.
A number of people who planned to attended chose not to because of the hot, humid weather. At the back end of the float, a doll, representing the infant Jesus, held a ukulele. Parishioners Bianca Rasso and David Aleman portrayed Mary and Joseph. They did not wear their costumes due to the heat.
The musicians in attendance wore T-shirts printed with the statement, “Saving souls one ukulele at a time” on the front and “You can tune a ukulele, but you can’t tuna fish,” on the back. Following the parade, participants from the St. Anthony entry were treated to lunch at the parish.