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Ireland's Patronsaint is alive andweIl., and living in Amertca, judgtng by the number of parudes being staged there. SednCarbeny rcpofts.
t's fair to say that St. Patrick's Day would not be
the worldwide phenomenon it is today without the lrish in America, and their descendants, who are currently reckoned to number above 40 million. The energy, color and sheer scale of the parades held around America each year, particularly the marching bands, jolted the native version out of its semi-slumber, with the result that today the lrish capital's parade has become a performance event, matched to some degree
by other parades around lreland. But the United

States is, and always has been, the powerhouse behind St. Patrick, and we pay tribute to the hundreds of parades honoring our patron saint which will be held all across America this March 17th or thereabouts. Here's a look at some of them.

New YorF
ln our last issue, we covered the story of the New York parade, the world's biggest, and we illustrate this feature with some images from the 20'11 parade in

the Big Apple, along with other venues. Each year, the New York City St. Patrick's Day Parade recognizes the efforts of an outstanding charity or distinguished group of people, and this year the
Parade will be marched in honor of all American Veterans

from every branch of service and from

every war or conf lict.

The southern city began celebrating St. Patrick's Day in 1813, only 80 years after the city was founded by General James Oglethorpe, with a private gathering of the Hibernian Society, a group of lrish Protestants.


The Windy City hosts one of the largest St. Patrick's The first public parade was in 1824. Growing steadily in the 189 years since, Savannah now hosts the

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second largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the United States, attracting over 300,000 visitors from around the world. Among the 350 units in this year's parade will be the lrish Air Corps pipe and drum band.

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celebrations in the country. The first St. Patrick's parade took place in 1843, but it wasn't until the "1960s that the locals came up with the bright idea of staining its river green beforehand. The river water should not be confused with green beer, much of which is consumed on the day. The parade, which is held on Saturday, March 17th this year, is a massive collection of lrish-inspired floats and dancers. lt starts at noon at the corner of Columbus and Balbo.

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America's oldest city, St, Augustine in Florida will host the second annual Celtic Music & Heritage Festival on Saturday and Sunday, March 10 and 11. The festivities begin with a colorful St. Patrick's Parade around the old town on Saturday March 10, and the early date allows for further celebrations during the week leading up to the 17th. According to local historians, the lrish have been in St. Augustine for over 400 years, arriving with the earliest Spanish settlers as priests and soldiers. During the first Spanish period (1565-1763), Father Richard Arthur (a/k/a Padre Ricardo Artur) presided over the parish of St. Augustine from 1598 until his death in 1606. The King of Spain hired lrish expatriate soldiers to
garrison the city's famed Castillo San Marco fortress. Several of the military governors of Spanish La Florida were lrish officers. Father Michael O'Reilly

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While Chicago comes close to matching Boston with sheer exuberance, Beantown, as this lively city is known, comes out ahead for historic significance alone. lts South Boston St. Patrick's Day parade is the world's first recorded parade for the holiday, first hosted by the lrish Society of Bobton in 1737 (actually beating Dublin, lreland by almost two centuries). According to the 2009 U.S. Census, 23,9 percent of the population in Massachusetts is of lrish descent, making it the most lrish state in America. The parade spectacle includes floats, bagpipers, marching bands and more than 850,000 attendees. Boston is often called the capital of lrish America because of its thriving lrish community, which dates back to colonial times and continues to the present day. The lrish Heritage Trail is a self-guided, three mile walking
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supervised the construction of St. Augustine's Cathedral from 1793 to its completion in 1797.


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Kansas City knows how to do St. Patrick's Day right and has been doing so since 1873. A Gaelic Mass starts the day, followed by the St. Patrick's Day parade which is led by the Lone Bagpiper (a.k.a. Jody Watson). Throughout the afternoon, the streets fill wlth floats, bands and other performers. The grand-prize winner of the best parade float gets two
airplane tickets to lreland. After the parade, tradition dictates that revellers head for the historic district of

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lndeed, there is a Dublin in Ohio. Actually, there are ten cities with the name in the States, but this is the one that embraces its lrish legacy with the most fervor. One of the founders of the city, John Shields, is given credit for the naming of it after his birthplace in lreland. Today, Dublin, Ohio celebrates its lrish heritage with a mile-long parade made up of approximately 100 floats, bands and bagpipers' not to mention the Grand Leprechaun. With a population of less than 40,000 people, it is a much smaller affair than most of the cities that make up this list.
Still, with more than 20,000 visitors, size is all relative.


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Westport for some brews. They can also get into the saintly spirit by making donations to the annual "Go for the Green" food drive. www.kcirishparade'com

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The city draws more than 150,000 attendees to its celebration, which is known as "Scranton's version of Mardi Gras." Festivities begin with a special St. Patrick's Day mass at St. Peter's Cathedral. Afterward, Scrantonites take to the streets to enjoy a procession lined with bagpipers, dancers and local musicians. The parade has been going strong here for quite some time. with the first official St. Patrick parade being held back in 1862. Scranton's parade ls on March 10, the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day.

The occasion is held on March 12, a few days ahead of St. Patrick's Day. www.dublin.oh'us

And finallv...the World s shortest St. PatricktsDay parude It's in Hot Springs, Akansas. it's altvays ns3 :'
March 17th, and this quirky parade fc 'o;,s a 3:-rcr long route along historic Broge S:-'-: -'e:?:7-{t: lasts an hour and is follcr,e: c-. a sl=-i rt:t entertainment. Pre-paraoe s: .-:'as -,:: -i- ; tl Blarney Stone Kissing Co-:as:.