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St. Patrick's Day-Second Largest Parade in the US

Lisa Niday - Saturday, March 19, 2011

This week our travel is going to be fairly local and something you may have experienced in your town as well, a St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Why Do We Honor This Day

As you may or may not have heard Saint Patrick was famous for many things, one of them was driving the snakes out of Ireland. Although we are not sure if snakes actually were in Ireland many of the Pagan religions used serpents for worship and symbolism. Saint Patrick was the driving force to bring Christianity to Ireland, and was said to have used the shamrock as an explanation of the Holy Trinity to the pagans. So I guess in a sense, no matter if there were snakes or not he did drive paganism out of Ireland. The color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue, why the color change? Since he had used the shamrock in his teachings this was the symbol people choose to adopt to represent the day and you guessed it, it's GREEN!

Now that we have a little background about the Saint Patrick let's see when  American's started to celebrate the day. Please keep in mind this was by no means the first, but the first recorded in the world. The first recorded St. Patrick's Day Parade was organized by the Irish Society of Boston and took place on March 18, 1737 in Boston.  Irish workers marched to declare their disapproval of the way they were treated as immigrants. The tradition still goes on today, well as far as the parade goes.

photo of St. Patrick's parade

Getting ready to march in the parade
It is said to be one of the busiest days for bars and ranks as one of the highest days in the United States for drinking. Around the United States there are hundreds of parades that take place every year. This year I had the privilege to attend the #2 St. Patty's Day parade in the U.S, Denver, Colorado.
photo of Irish alien
An Irish alien?

The first St. Patrick's Day parade in Denver was in 1889. This year's parade began at 9:15 am and was started by Grand Marshal Frank McGuire. In the parade were two divisions of Irish groups one group, the Ancient Order of Hibernians which numbered around 100. Now the parade boasts over 200 entries and has a minimum of 250,000 on lookers each year. The entries consist of local businesses, armed forces, Irish dancers, Boy Scouts, Car clubs, and just about anything else you could think of.

The original route of the parade began at 14th St. and preceded to Colfax Ave., to S. 14th St over to Broadway, and looped its way in front of the Capitol and eventually meandered back to 14th and Larimer. The current route starts at 27th and Blake and ends up in the Coors Field parking lot.
photo of boy scout troop 375 marching in parade
Boy Scout Troop 375 marched at the St. Patrick's Day Parade

Every parade needs a Queen! Out with the old in with the new,  every year a Queen Colleen is nominated. Queen Colleen wears a green velvet robe and crown as she leads the parade. The 2011 Queen Colleen is Keriayn O'Donnell. This year the competition was so tight that only one vote separated each of the winners. It was decided that all three contestants participate as members of the Queen's Court. Not just a pretty face, all of the ladies have a long list of community service that they volunteer their time to.
photo of Queen Colleen
Queen Colleen won by a mere vote this year.

Irish Trivia

I have told you a little about some of the things you might associate with St. Patrick's Day. Here's a few more, to astound your friends with your knowledge on St. Patrick's Day.

Q: What's a Blarney Stone?

A: A Blarney stone is said to reduce shyness and give you the gift of gab if you kiss it.

Q: Where can you find a Leprechauns pot of gold?

A: The end of the rainbow

Q: What whiskey is made from potatoes?

A: Potcheen

Q: What's a shillelagh?

A: A large walking stick

Q: What does "Erin Go Bragh" mean?

A: Ireland Forever!

Q: What is said to bring you luck on St. Patrick's Day?

A: Kissing an Irishman

Q: What are the Irish known for?

A: Saving civilization from the Barbarians

At this point you may be asking which city is #1 for St. Patrick's Day parades, I won't tell but here's your clue they dye their river green. I hope you have a safe and fun St. Patrick's day and remember to cook your Corned Beef and Cabbage!

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