Parade founder to lead 40th anniversary event
Forty years ago, William “Bill” Enright and a small group of Lexingtonians founded the Bluegrass Irish Society and put together the city’s first St. Patrick’s Parade. In 2019, Enright will serve as the grand marshal of the 40th annual event.
“The St. Patrick’s parade is one of the longest running civic events in Lexington,” said Megan Moloney, parade chair and president of the Bluegrass Irish Society. “Without Bill Enright, the parade and festival would not have grown into the vibrant, successful community events they are. We are honored to recognize Bill and his family for their decades of service to our community.”
“St. Patrick’s Day and the parade and festival have been important to me for many years and I am honored to be to be named grand marshal,” Enright said. “I can’t wait to ride in the parade with some of my grandchildren.”
Born and raised in Chicago to Irish immigrant parents from County Kerry, Enright graduated from DePaul University and was commissioned into the U.S. Army Security Agency, where he served with the XVIII Airborne Corps and attained the rank of captain. He and his young family moved to Lexington in 1970 so Enright could take a position with IBM, one he held for 30 years.
Throughout his time in Lexington Enright has been involved with many church and community activities and organizations such as the Lexington-Fayette County Special Events Commission, the Mayor’s International Affairs Advisory Commission, Lexington Sister Cities, and a number of committees and boards.
Enright has been honored for his service including being named Irishman of the year in 2016 by the Lexington Celtic Association. But for this year’s honoree, the parade and festival have been a family affair. For decades his wife Carol hosted guests on the reviewing stand. The parade also played a pivotal role in the expansion of the family when son Patrick Enright proposed to his then girlfriend, Stephanie, on the parade route.
Enright treasures his role as a father of four and grandfather of seven, and is devoted to the love of his life, his wife of 53 years, Carol. The holiday’s patron, Saint Patrick, also holds a special place in Enright’s family: Bill proposed to Carol on St. Patrick’s Day and his children – Anne Patricia, William Patrick, Kathleen Patricia and Brian Patrick – are named after Ireland’s saint.
The Lexington Division of Parks and Recreation produces the annual St. Patrick’s parade and festival with community support from local businesses and cultural organizations. The events are part of an all-day celebration that begins at 8 a.m. with the 13th annual Shamrock Shuffle to benefit Lexington Habitat for Humanity.
The Irish festival kicks off at the Robert F. Stephens Courthouse with the annual “Blessing of the Keg” at the Alltech tents on the courthouse plaza at 10:45 a.m. Local Irish musicians, dancers and pipe bands keep the entertainment going all day.
The annual parade, with Enright as grand marshal, begins at 1 p.m. and goes down Main Street from Midland Avenue to Mill Street. Applications for parade participants are being accepted through March 1 and can be found online at http://www.lexingtonstpatsparade.org/.
Follow @LexStPatsParade on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for information, event updates and day of coverage. Parade participants and attendees are encouraged to share their photos online, tag @LexStPatsParade and use #LexStPats2019.