March 16th, 2013 was a perfect day for having a parade. The weather was so gorgeous that the turnout for the parade was 10,000 people more than last year for a total of 110,000 attendees. Greenville Avenue was a sea of green.
The parade was led by Marcus Blake, Brendan Smith and Josh Perry carrying the United States, Texas, and Ireland flags. Following them were our flag bearers and banner carriers representing 32 counties. Next came our Irish Person of the Year, Cynthia McDonald, in a beautiful blake convertible, driven by her husband, Tim. Our float displayed the 4 province banners on the sides and a Celtic Cross that was 10 feet tall in the back and there was a leprechaun riding aboard. Scott Huffman, 8 years old, and Zander Huffman, 5 years old, were our newest members and were recruited by Sheila Balagna at NTIF along with their mom and dad, Trinity and Jeremy Huffman. The whole family gladly volunteered to carry banners and the two boys rode on the float. Zander brought his bubble blowing machine and the crowd loved him, begging for more bubbles. Jim Logue also rode on the float due to a hurt ankle and we were so glad that he did. Jim provided animation and much excitement due to the rousing Irish music that he was dancing to. He had the crowds cheering for St. Patrick. Many of the revelers mistaken St. Patrick for the new Pope, Jorge from Argentina. They yelled out “Look! The Pope!” and asked for a papal blessing. One group in particular started chanting “Jorge, Jorge, Jorge”. St. Patrick (alias the Pope) blessed all 110,000 people and you could tell that they were very pleased.
Thank you, Richard Anderson, for doing such a fine job of being our St. Patrick.
Fortunately, there were no injuries, in spite of the hundreds of tortillas and marshmallows that were pummeled toward us, but we did go home kind of sticky. We want to thank the Gaelic Athletic Association for providing entertainment with their excellent skills in Irish football and overall good cheer. What a great group of lads and lassies! Bill Neil, a seasoned parade organizer, drove our float and provided a bull horn that I am positive was the reason that we were able to pull it off without a single mistake.
A big thank you goes out to all of the parade committee: Patricia Dillingham, Debbie Perry, Patti Winston, Bill Neil, Phylis Lawson, Richard Anderson. Also, a big thank you to all of the volunteers for carrying the banners and flags, decorating the float and just generally anything that was needed. It takes a village to have a parade and we have one fantastic Irish village.