St Patty’s Day
This last Saturday was St. Patrick’s Day. It is kind of a big deal in our little city with the festivities lasting all weekend. Everywhere you look there are folks wearing green from the cute to the absurd. I saw small children with face paint, a baby dressed liked a leprechaun (which was very cute). There were perfectly normal people walking around with green hair and green shamrock shaped glasses. I saw a tall bald man with a teeny tiny green top hat glued to the top of his head. Even the dogs are dressed in all manners of green accessories.
The festivities start with a pancake breakfast held in the firehouse. For a small fee, one can get scrambled eggs, sausage and of course, green pancakes. There is coffee, hot chocolate, tea, orange juice and milk to wash it all down. The firefighters serve you up and all the proceeds go to the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. Will say the food isn’t that good, but the opportunity to help out a worthy cause while gawking at those buff firefighters is worth it. There is also the opportunity to meet up with old friends and neighbors, to catch up on what each other is up to lately. For the kids, the firefighters give out red fireman hats and sticker badges. They also have an engine parked outside where the children can climb inside and take a look. Many of a pretend fire have been put out by a 6 year old who has rushed to the scene.
With full tummies, we make our way to the parade route. There is a definite strategy in where one sits you do not want to be at the beginning of the route, that’s no good. You do not want to be too close to the end, the participants are tired by then. A good spot is close to the judges and dignitary bleachers. There the parade folk are at their best. Of course, weather plays a part. If it sunny, you need shade, if it is cold and windy (as it was this past weekend) you need to be near some of the buildings so they can act as a windbreak but still in the sun for the warmth. In case of rain, the freeway under pass is good but is loud due to the echoes.
The parade itself is made up of many different groups. You have the girl/boy scouts, little leagues, youth football leagues, local martial arts groups among others. There is the local middle school and high school band, which always elicits cheers. You can see some of our local Military heroes and of course, our local dignitaries who ride along with our Sister City ambassador who has travel all the way from Ireland. Naturally, we have clowns and floats, dancers and cheer squads everything you could imagine.
After the parade, we all make our way to the civic center and sports grounds. The festival is THE place to be. Craft vendors are selling their wares and local businesses are hawking their services. There is a small children’s carnival ride area, which they won’t let me ride as I am too tall. Sadness. Lots of food and of course the bear tent where one can get their Guinness. Everyone drinks Guinness even if they don’t like it. It’s St. Patty’s day!
We also have entertainment. Of course, we have the local Irish dancers. The children who dance are amazing! It is funny though to see people trying to dance these jigs (is that the right word?). There are Irish bands that run the gamut from traditional to complete rocking out.
It is a fun weekend and I enjoy it very much. Well, if I were honest I would say that enjoying it is not quite right. I look forward to this weekend every year and generally have a blast!