RACINE — The Downtown Racine Corporation will host the 15th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on March 18 in Downtown Racine, starting at noon, with a special touch this year to honor the late Ron Christensen. The event brings over 2,000 attendees to the downtown area each year.
Community members and those from the surrounding areas are gearing up for another year of fun at this family-friendly event.
“This parade is the official kick-off to spring in downtown and we are thrilled to be hosting for our 15th year, offering a fun and festive event to our community,” said Kelly Kruse, Executive Director of the Downtown Racine Corporation.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade will officially begin on the corner of State and Main Streets.
The route will proceed south on Main Street, turn west onto Sixth Street, and end near City Hall.
Christensen honored as Grand Marshall
The Downtown Racine 2023 St. Patrick’s Day parade Grand Marshall will be in honor of Ron Christensen. The late Christensen was a lifelong Racine resident and was extremely active in the community.
His niece, Lisa Shockley, who works for the Downtown Racine Corporation, has had a large hand in helping to honor her uncle at this year’s parade.
“Everybody knows his generosity throughout the City of Racine. He’s had his hand touch almost everything,” said Shockley.
Nancy Christensen, Ron’s wife, explains that he grew to know the community through the multiple businesses he owned, owning real estate in Downtown Racine, and through community events.
“He enjoyed Downtown Racine and what Downtown Racine had to offer,” she said.
As much of Racine as he consumed, he gave even more to his hometown.
“He’s had a concrete business. He owned Captain Ron’s Skatepark and a snow-plowing business. He’s got a same-day delivery service. We own a couple of buildings. He coached football when his step-kids were small,” she explained.
Even in death, Christensen continued to be a giver, as he was an organ donor.
A meaningful weekend
Christensen would have been 60 years old on March 19 and also would have celebrated his second wedding anniversary on March 20.
The upcoming weekend means a lot to Christensen’s family and friends, so much so, that family members of Ron’s are flying in from across the country to be at the parade.
His obituary notes, “Ron never missed the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade and always joked that the parade was ‘his’ parade because it was always on his birthday weekend.”
If Ron knew he was being honored, his wife said, “he’d probably cry because he’s pretty emotional,” due to how meaningful the event and Racine were to him.
Ron’s brother, Tom Christensen, was shocked and practically speechless to hear that his brother will be honored at this year’s event.
When asked how he felt about his brother being named this year’s Grand Marshall, he said, “it feels like an honor.”
To the family, this honor shows the impact of Ron’s generosity and kindness to the Racine community throughout his life.
This year, dozens of Racine community members will march, dance and ride on floats down the streets of Downtown Racine as a way to celebrate one of the community’s favorite traditions.
Following the firetrucks, and leading the parade, will be the Racine Raiders. Ron had an extremely close relationship with the team due to always challenging football players to push-up contests in the parades and even sponsoring fireworks for their games. The Raiders will have the honor of carrying a banner in his honor.
In addition, the Harbor Lite Yacht Club will help to celebrate his life through their parade entry:
A golf cart will carry a photo of Ron on the front and also lead as the honorary Grand Marshall.
Christensen was a member at the Harbor Lite Yacht Club. He loved boating, the annual Cardboard Boat Races and being on the water.
“Everybody called him Captain Ron. That’s been his thing forever,” said his niece.
As a tribute to his memory, Ron will lead this year’s event through the organizations that meant the most to him.
“They were both very honored, to be able to be a part of it,” said Shockley.
Other notable entries in the parade this year include fan favorites, Lighthouse Brigade, Root River Rollers, Carriage House Pedal Tavern, as well as multiple singing and dancing groups and much more.
After parade festivities
“Stick around after the parade and grab a bite to eat or a drink from a multitude of pubs and
restaurants that will be featuring St. Patrick’s Day specials all day long,” reads the DRC’s news release.
Corned Beef and Cabbage
Planning to attend? Parking can be found at the Lake Avenue Ramp, 300 Lake Ave., Civic Centre Ramp, 501 Lake Ave., and the McMynn Ramp, 120 7th St., for only $2 all day.
More St. Patrick’s Day fun
The Racine County Eye, which includes the Kenosha Lens, has a great celebrations section to keep you updated on community-wide events and other festivities. Subscribe today to stay up-to-date with local news.
Have a celebration worth sharing? Contact email@example.com to discuss your ideas.
Follow us on Facebook: Racine County Eye or Kenosha Lens, and Twitter to make sure you get the latest news.
Racine County Eye and Kenosha Lens – Journalism that serves.