St. Patrick's Day activities paint Emporia green

Emporians painted Commercial green Saturday -- or so it seemed, with St. Patrick's Day activities taking over downtown.

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Everything started in the morning with the first-ever Leprechaun Dash 5K. Nearly 50 participants entered, starting and ending the race at Town Royal. Jaci Willse won, with a time of 19 minutes. Willse said the course was tough, but otherwise it was a fun race.

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Following the Leprechaun Dash was Emporia's St. Patrick's Day Parade, and the St. Baldrick's head-shaving activities at J-Mo's. Organizer Travis Hitt said, starting with their auction Friday night, this year's St. Baldrick's events will have raised over $10,000, and that number is expected to grow with the head-shaving totals from KVOE's Scott Hayes and Chuck Samples tallied up. 

Hitt says over the four years the group has been raising funds for childhood cancer research, they've raised around $30,000. Hitt is appreciative of the support.

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The St. Baldrick's float also received the Committee's Choice award from the St. Patrick's Committee. Downtown bars opened their doors around 11am, and were packed throughout the day. The bagpipes you heard earlier were courtesy of Town Royal.

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