Shriners frolick in Twin PortsIt’s a good time for a parade, or two.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
It’s a good time for a parade, or two.
Next week, more than 1,500 Shriners converge on the Twin Ports for business, fellowship and a little clowning around. The annual meeting of the Midwest Shrine Association encompasses 14 Shrine temples from Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Michigan, Iowa and Canada. They will come with their dune buggies, bagpipes, horses and balloons to connect and compete from Wednesday through Saturday. The last time the group met in the Twin Ports was 12 years ago.
Potentate Paul Reiner of the AAD Shrine in Duluth said he looks forward to the camaraderie of the annual events.
“They have good hearts and they have become good friends,” said Reinier, a Superior native. And each of them is devoted to the same cause, supporting the 22 Shriner children’s hospitals nationwide.
“I feel the reason we’re there is because of the hospitals and the kids,” said Kevin Baker, chief of staff for the AAD Shrine officers, who are known as the Divan. The hospitals offer free health care to children up to age 18 and support for their families.
“The list is very long, what we treat,” said AAD Shrine office manager Gordon Granmoe. The organization’s hospitals are on the leading edge of research into burn care, orthopedics, cleft lip and palate, and spinal cord injury treatment for children.
“We’re the best at what we do,” Reinier said. Recently the Mayo Clinic hired the Shrine Hospital in Minneapolis, which focuses on orthopedics, to make prosthetics for its patients, he said.
The motto of the Shriners is “Having fun and helping children.” The second part of the motto was what attracted Granmoe and kept him there for a dozen years.
“If you ever have a little blond girl come up to you with two carbon legs and say ‘Thank you,’ that’s why we do it,” he said.
Next week’s gathering isn’t just for work, however. There will be time for the Shriners to play, and the public is invited to celebrate with them. Two parades are scheduled, one beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday in Superior and another at 10 a.m. Saturday in Proctor prior to the Hoghead Parade.
The Superior parade will take the same route as the Citizens Fourth of July Parade, just in reverse. It will start at Superior Middle School, go north on Hammond Avenue, turn on North 28th Street and end at Superior High School. Duluth’s officers will lead the show on their metallic green dune buggies, followed by horse patrols, motorcycles, little cars, a Model T Ford, a late 1800s grind organ on a golf cart, musical units, bands, steel drums and more. Bagpipe enthusiasts will enjoy a massed band featuring the combined bagpipe units from all the temples. The parade should last about an hour and a half, Reinier said. No candy will be thrown during the parade, but kids who stick around for the end will be treated with a Ziplock bag of candy, according to Granmoe. The free event will take place regardless of weather.
“It never rains on a Shrine parade,” Granmoe said.
Each temple’s units, from clowns to cars, will face off in competitions throughout the Twin Ports Friday, and the public is invited to watch the show. Motorized units will compete behind Superior High School from 8 a.m. to about noon. One competition is expected to be especially important to the AAD Shrine.
“Our motorcycle group is No. 1,” Baker said. “We will be trying to defend the title in Superior Friday.”
The horse guard competition begins at 9 a.m. at the Proctor Fairgrounds; chanters face off 9-11 a.m. at the Scottish Rite Building, 4 W. Second St., Duluth, clown units clown around from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Holiday Inn, 200 W. First St., Duluth, oriental bands compete at 10 a.m. at Tycoon’s, 132 E. Superior St., Duluth and the pipes and drums give a mass band performance from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Grandma’s Sports Garden in Canal Park.
For more information on the AAD Shrine or the schedule of events, go to www.aadshrine.org. To learn more about the Shriners hospitals, go to www.shrinershospitalsforchildren.org.
Anyone who has a child in need of care through the organization or who would like to donate to the hospitals is encouraged to contact the AAD Shrine at 218-722-7488, talk with a Shriner or email firstname.lastname@example.org.