Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Print Only Parade Story

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Print Only Parade Story

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS Had Saturdays St. Patricks Day parade through downtown St. Louis kicked off a day earlier, it would have marched under warm, sunny skies.

But Irish guest of honor Senator Marie-Louise ODonnell said such pleasant weather would only have made her homesick for Dublin.

A perfect template for a true Irish parade cold, windy and with marvelously gray skies, ODonnell said of Saturdays weather. Makes me feel right at home.

Had the 44th annual parade been today, it would have run up against a nasty forecast of rain and snow.

The luck has held firm, said parade official Tom Gorman, 76.

Indeed, Irish luck is a relative concept.

ODonnell led a green-blazered delegation of dignitaries that included St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley down the parades Market Street route.

A sea of green 20 people deep in places ignored the cold as they cheered floats, bands and 5,000 marchers in various units.

Crowd favorite Finnegan, the 40-foot-tall leprechaun helium balloon, needed 36 volunteers, a dozen more than usual, to keep it under control in wind that gusted up to 20 mph.

Clarinetist Christian Williams made the cross-state trek with his classmates from Kansas Citys Center High School Mighty Marching Yellowjacket Band.

Weve got a couple of St. Patricks parades in Kansas City, but they dont compare to this, he said.

The children of St. Louis Irish Arts sang the Irish national anthem in Gaelic. Past parade chairman Bob Muldoon, 78, of Crestwood, sang along with them.

(Muldoon recalled the lesson in anthem etiquette he got years ago from a hotel clerk in Dublin. She heard me singing it in English and told me, Excuse me, sir, but there are no English words in the Irish national anthem. )

The parade has become a rain-or-shine tradition for many families.

The Hanlon clan of Webster Groves pitched a canopy at Market and 17th streets, where theyve watched the parade pass for the last 40 years. …

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