Bit o’ the Irish

Wee parade winds way to green beer

Guest Authors

By Ann Hawksby, Messenger Correspondent

Messenger Contributor

The Facts

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ST. ALBANS CITY —The Main Street and Taylor Park area came alive with green in anticipation of the fifth annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and celebration Thursday evening.

For some the event organized by the St. Albans City Recreation Department has been a tradition, others were newcomers to the event and they weren’t sure what to expect.

“This is my first parade ever,” said Christine Kubacz, a teacher at Maple Leaf Montessori, who described herself as very Irish. The preschool, housed in the old Barlow Street School, had a very enthusiastic group of adults, children, and even a dog that joined in this year’s parade.

“It’s just so fun to see the kids so excited to get all dressed up and be part of this,” she said.

Kelly Viens, director of the city’s recreation department, saw the event this way: “It is a short, yet very spirited parade. It pretty much began with some of our local Irish families including the Smiths, McGinns, and Manahans, and many more have been getting involved.”

“Who and what the parade is made up of is “always a surprise,” she explained. “We have groups that do this every year, and then we have people that just kind of pull up and say, “Hey we want to be in the parade!”

“It’s almost like a Mardi Gras type thing where people just want to join in and go with it,” said Viens.

The parade, led by bagpiper Michael Walsh, consisted of floats and entries by Smith and McGinn families, the Bellows Free Academy Boys State Champion Hockey Team, RiseVT, Maple Leaf Montessori, St. Albans Recreation Department, the Rally Cats University of Vermont mascot, and Champ, the Vermont Lake Monsters mascot.

Whether in the parade or not, the majority of the people dressed up for the occasion with green clothing, hats, glasses, hair ribbons, and all sorts of props and gadgets.

“We’ve come here every year, we just really like being here,” said Abby Alberico, of Alburgh. She and her young family came to the festivities with Kari Strong and her family who live in Fairfax.

The parade started at 6 p.m. from the courthouse on Lake Street and turned onto Main Street, then up Bank Street and onto Church Street, ending at the St Albans Museum where there was a grand Irish celebration in the Bliss Room.

A crowd was lined up outside the building and inside there was literally wall-to-wall people, from the entryway all the way up the stairs to the third floor. There was music and dancing, face painting, children’s activities, and a performance by the UVM Celtic Cats Irish Dance Troupe.

Traditional Irish fare was offered by Clean Spoon Catering, green beverages were available for children while adults could indulge in a beer at the cash bar, and there were plenty of sweet treats available.