ST. PAUL, MINNESOTA 40 degree temperatures and a brisk wind didn’t deter St. Paul’s Irish population – those who can trace their heritage back to the Green Isle and those who are “Irish for the day” – from coming out to enjoy the Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.
The St. Paul St. Patrick’s Day Parade has a long history: the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in 1851 and was an annual event until the last parade was held in 1901. Then, in 1967 at St. Paul’s Gallivan’s restaurant a group of St. Paul business owners decided that the tradition needed to be revived. Planned in just two months, the parade was a huge success and was reestablished as annual tradition attended by thousands of people every year.
Celebrating 50 years of the annual parade, thousands of parade goers crowded the Fifth Street sidewalks, gathered in and around Rice Park and filled the skyways above the route to cheer on the Irish Clan family members and bagpipe groups as they paraded by. St. Paul’s Winter Carnival Royalty and the Vulcans delighted the crowd; St. Paul Mayor Coleman waved to constituents as he walked the route.
People cheered as the “Bouncing Girls” flew high in the air, and children scrambled to pick up the candy tossed by firemen and people decked out in green kilts dancing Irish jigs.
Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, some carrying full packs, walked the route holding signs reminding parade goers that 22 vets commit suicide every day. It was a somber reminder of the sacrifices made by American military men and women on a day filled with frivolity, music, green beer, and crazy costumes.
Unlike other recent community events that were either threatened with disruption or disrupted by protesters, there was no evidence of any one planning or attempting to disrupt the parade. None-the-less, there was a visible police presence at the event. One group of police officers, staged in an SUV near an intersection on the route, seemed to enjoy an impromptu serenade by a group of Irish magicians.
Many local Irish bars and restaurants had tents set up outside for the party to last late into the evening. It seemed that a fun time was had by all.
The attached video is a compilation of photos and video clips taken at the March 17, 2016 parade.
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