Denison will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the town’s St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday, March 14.

The parade this year is dedicated to the memory of parade founders Joe and Marilyn Curnyn and Brian O’Neill, who continued the tradition of the parade.

“Joe and Marilyn Curnyn kind of spearheaded the whole thing,” said Susan Grau. “They started talking to people and got more people interested and it just continued to grow from there.”

O’Neill took over the parade when Joe Curnyn died.

Grau worked with O’Neill on the parade, so she was the natural choice to take over the job after O’Neill died last year.

A car with just a driver, and signs with the Curnyns’ and O’Neill’s names, will lead the parade.

“That will be in memory of Joe, Marilyn and Brian,” Grau said.

The next car in line will carry the Grand Marshal, Patrick Curnyn, and the Irish Mother, Peggy O’Neill.

Patrick is the son of Joe and Marilyn; Peggy is the sister of Brian.

“They will be representing the families and the past and the present,” Grau said.

She has a car for Patrick and Peggy, but she still needs the car that will honor Joe, Marilyn and Brian.

A trolley owned by Brian O’Neill, which he had used for the parade, was sold and is no longer available.

Grau said Jean Heiden and United Bank of Iowa have agreed to let the parade use their trolley.

“The greatest thing about Denison is there is so much compassion and friendliness. Everybody is willing to help everybody,” Grau said. “That’s probably the best thing about having the parade there.”

She has been contacting local groups about participating in the parade and encouraged anyone interested to take part to help celebrate the 30th anniversary.

Participants will line up on 1st Avenue North prior to the 1 p.m. start of the parade on March 14.

For more information, contact Grau at

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