Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

St. Patrick's Day Parade Turns Downtown into a Green Scene Irish Don't Let Rain Drown out Tradition

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

St. Patrick's Day Parade Turns Downtown into a Green Scene Irish Don't Let Rain Drown out Tradition

Article excerpt

A little rain - or even a lot - couldn't put a damper on tradition.

Pittsburgh's annual St. Patrick's Day parade drew crowds and kicked off in fine form Saturday morning, despite cloudy skies and wet streets. Umbrellas and tents lined the sidewalks, guarding hundreds of merry-makers - all clad in green - from the rain that fell throughout the morning.

Even before the parade officially started Downtown at 10 a.m., the sound of vuvuzelas trumpeted down Grant Street and the Boulevard of the Allies. Screams, cheers and bagpipes joined in the raucous cacophony.

Some paradegoers dressed in kilts and suspenders, while others donned fake green beards or dyed their hair green. Vendors selling all sorts of green-themed items - scarves, hats, beads - roamed the parade route.

Floats carrying Irish dancers, who stayed balanced despite the rain and moving vehicles, drove down the route to cheers from University of Pittsburgh students, who used the opportunity to yell "Let's go Pitt!"

There was even a wee bit of drinking. Some brought flasks with them, others made do with Jell-O shots in plastic cups, while many stuck to coffee as temperatures remained chilly in the upper 40s.

Bishop David Zubik greeted spectators during the parade, protected under an umbrella.

"Glad you're under a tent," he said to one group, dry on a Grant Street sidewalk.

Paradegoers took different measures to stay out of the rain. Several took shelter in a parking garage on Smithfield Street and the Boulevard of the Allies, coloring the rows with green. Others ducked into open buildings or coffee shops when the weather proved to be a little too much.

But for most, St. Patrick's Day is more than just a day; it's a custom that doesn't bend to bad weather.

For the Gardner family, the parade symbolizes more than 50 years of family tradition. …

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