Monday, March 26, 2007


Yesterday saw the annual Greenwich St. Patrick's Day parade, which took place a week later than usual owing to the fierce competition for Irish bagpipe marching bands at this time of year. The delay turned out to be much for the best, as this year's parade was bigger, longer, and better than has been the case for many a year.

The parade followed the "new" route for wimps, starting at Town Hall and proceeding up Field Point Road to the library, then eastwards on the Post Road and finally down Greeenwich Avenue. The old route, as walked by your scribe when he was an Honorary Grand Marshal, used to start at the Island Beach parking lot, proceed up Mason Street, and then across and down per the above. It was a longer and more challenging route, given the acclivity and length of Mason Street; your calves ached at the end, and it was definitely not a trek for sissies. Ah, the days of yore....

Some years the weather has been cold, even with snow flurries, but this year the sun was out and the temperature moderate. However, the crowd was sparser than usual, perhaps because it was the last day of the private schools' vacation, and people were still winging their way back from Vail or Park City or Florida or the Caribbean. Most years the curbs are lined two to three deep; this year there was no difficulty in finding your own curbside spot.

In the vanguard of the parade rode the Governor's Horse Guard, with the faithful pooper-scoopers following close behind. The usual clutch of politicians was there, including Skippy Snickerson and "The Doll" in the lightweight contingent, and local resident Attorney General Dick Blumenthal to restore some gravitas to the group. Skippy, true to his name, skipped around from side to side of the parade route shaking hands, but had the good sense to avoid your scribe's particular piece of curbside turf.

There were many local youth groups, of the scouting and Boys & Girls Club ilk, some of whom tossed candy to the children as they passed. Needless to say, they were highly popular among the younger set.

There were lots of bands, from the Greenwich High School band and its local area counterparts to a goodly number of kilted and bewhiskered Irish bagpiper and drummer bands. But the most noticeable feature of the parade was the plethora of fire trucks, of every make, model, and vintage, not to mention color (no, Virginia, not all fire trucks are red - at least one in this parade was green, and it did NOT come from Greenwich). It seemed that every fire department within a twenty-mile radius had sent a truck or two, and their sirens, horns, and klaxons made a lucious cacophony as they rumbled down the Avenue.

It took well over an hour for the whole thing to pass, with the comic Shriners in their mini-cars bringing up the rear, as always. Your scribe walked away feeling quite content at having his parade fix so amply gratified this year, and thinking that it was far from a bad day for the Irish. Erin go bragh!


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