Wearing a fuzzy, green top hat and a fake green mustache is not only acceptable, but applauded at the World’s Shortest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Boulder.
The silly, festive Boulder tradition continued Sunday for the 34th year.
“It’s something that’s so unique to Boulder and always fun,” said Boulder’s Mary Ellen Bayko.
The procession runs just two blocks between Walnut and Spruce streets before turning around for a second pass. Conor O’Neill’s Traditional Irish Pub, 1922 13th St., has organized the event since 2000.
Hundreds of people lined the route Sunday to clap for troupes of traditional Irish step dancers in brightly colored costumes and enjoy the warm weather.
Broomfield’s Keeli Finan saw the parade when she was 5 and told her mom, Angela Finan, that she wanted to dance.
The 9-year-old joined the McTeggart Irish Dancers at 6 and has performed in parade ever since.
“Once you get it, dancing is pretty awesome,” she said. “The parade was really fun.”
A pipe-and-drum band and a trio of regal Irish wolfhounds led off the event. A unicycle team that started at Boulder’s Bear Creek Elementary School and a couple of jugglers kept those lining the parade route grinning.
The Paddy O’Furniture Drill Team, a parade staple, brought a new element to the team’s choreographed, aluminum lawn chair act this year. They sang and used the chairs to tap out the beat to Queen’s “We Will Rock You” — but with an Irish twist, so it became “We Will Shamrock You.”
“We’ve refined our program to be a crowd pleaser,” said drill team member Jodi Smith.
Though you couldn’t tell from the green, polka dot bow perched on her head, Smith is actually Scottish. But, she said, she can’t imagine missing the parade.
“It’s an excuse to dress up and march with lawn chairs with my friends and drink green beer,” she said.
The drill team, which focuses more on fun than precision, includes several neighborhood kids.
Rhiannon Rincon, 12, said the goal of the costumes is to pile on the green and “look really silly.”
They only have a couple of practice sessions, but team members said they’ve done the routine for so many years that they have it down. And, if someone forgets, “you just follow the person ahead of you,” Rhiannon said.
Added 12-year-old Reid Kellog, “We want to entertain everybody.”
The parade kicked off a week of St. Patrick’s Day festivities at Conor O’Neill’s that includes live music. For Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration, the pub will open at 8 a.m. A tent and a stage also will be set up in the back parking lot — more than doubling the pub’s 300-person capacity. The outside area will open at noon.
“We’ve been planning this for six months,” said Sam Blundell, Conor O’Neill’s manager.
Source: Amy Bounds, dailycamera.com