Porterdale’s March 16 Saint Patrick’s Day parade will start at Porterdale Baptist Church and end downtown in a Hemlock Street party with battling pro wrestlers, country music, food, inflatable bouncy houses — and a colorful transformation of the Yellow River.
Organizer Tim Savage wants it to be a magical surprise. But here’s a hint: (Spoiler alert) Think of what Chicago does to its river every St. Patrick’s Day.
Savage is using the samevegetable-based green substance that Chicago uses. He had to call dozens of people to track it down.
“Chicago really wants to keep that secret!” Savage said, laughing. “I also called the EPA to make sure it was OK for me to do this to the river. The EPA said, well, probably we’re supposed to say no so just don’t tell us about it. Don’t let us know what you’re doing and it will be OK.”
The party is actually a benefit for Tyler Head, the Newton high school wrestler who was injured and paralyzed in a Dec. 29 match. The money raised at the St. Patrick’s benefit will help pay for medical bills and a handicapped accessible van. Savage said that Tyler is making solid progress.
“He’s off the ventilator and has movement in his arms,” Savage said. He’s setting up a video-conference so Tyler can watch the festivities.
Savage’s day job is organizing professional wrestling matches. Performers from Platinum Championship Wrestling volunteered to bring their smackdowns to the benefit. It’s a tribute to Head’s sport and to Porterdale’s flamboyant past. Savage said pro wrestling stars Hulk Hogan and Rowdy Roddy Piper often performed in a Porterdale gym.
Porterdale court clerk Martha Cain said anyone can join the St. Paddy’s parade.
“We welcome everybody,” Cain said. “You don’t have to register in advance. You can walk or drive in the parade. You can even throw candy as long as you keep your throw low and don’t hit anybody in the head.”