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St. Paddy's parade draws big crowd

Christopher Dornblaser
717-505-5436/@YDDornblaser

Thousands of Yorkers, both Irish and Irish-for-the-day, came out in droves to celebrate this year's 33rd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Saturdayin the city.

The 33rd Annual York St. Patrick's Day Parade comes down Market Street Saturday, March 12, 2016. Amanda J. Cain photo

The streets along the parade route were filled with revelers of all ages watching the various bands, floats and vehicles pass in celebration of the Irish holiday.

The parade: Even though the parade did not start until 1 p.m., people started getting to downtown York City as early as 9 a.m. to ensure their spot on the route.

Volunteer organizer Mary Yeaple said people were getting downtown even as they were still setting up.

Adrianna Pinto, 14, of Mount Rose, blows bubbles as she waits for the St. Patrick's Day Parade to start Saturday, March 12, 2016, in York City. Amanda J. Cain photo

"We were setting up at 9 o'clock and people were putting their chairs down," she said.

While the day was kind of cloudy, the day was relatively rain-free for those enjoying the celebration.

The parade, which lasted a little more than an hour, started at the corner of Penn and Market streets and ended just past the Yorktowne Hotel.

Jada Breighner, 10, of North York, shows off her St. Patrick's Day money glasses Saturday, March 12, 2016,  during the St. Patrick's Day Parade in York City. Amanda J. Cain photo

A truck from Martin's Chips participated in the parade, with people behind the truck throwing bags of potato chips to the crowd.

In addition to the Martin's truck, the parade featured marching bands playing Irish music, Miss York 2016 winners, representatives from the Youth Development Center and many others. Yeaple said about 90 organizations participated in the parade this year.

Chrissy Zimmerman was there with her husband and three children. They were all decked out in green.

The parade has been a tradition for them.

"We try to come every year," she said.

Zimmerman said her family particularly enjoyed the bands, which were performing at the Continental Square prior to the start of the parade, as well as the Irish dancers who had been performing at the Central Market.

Events: Others got to the city early to check out some pre-parade activities, with the hot spot being Central Market, where vendors were offering Irish-themed foods as Irish dancers entertained the shoppers.

Bill and Michelle Noonan, of Springettsbury Township, were decked in green outfits, with Michelle wearing green gloves with shamrocks and a green boa scarf around her neck. Bill's side of the family is Irish, and they were planning on making a day of the celebration. They had just finished watching Irish dancers at Central Market.

"It's pretty cool, I'm here for the atmosphere," Bill said.

Michelle said in addition to the parade, they were going to White Rose Bar and Grill for some after-parade festivities.

"It's just a fun day," she said. "The city needs something like this."

Jeff and Vicki Shoffner, of Goldsboro, were wearing green hats and sitting at the end of the parade route. Even though they are not Irish, they enjoy celebrating the holiday. They arrived around 10:30 to check out Central Market.

Jeff was particularly fond of one particular Irish item being sold there.

"They sell soap down there called 'Leprechaun farts,'" he said. "I bought 10 of them!"

Vicki said they often give them to friends as gifts.

"I wanted to make sure they didn't sell out of that soap," Jeff said, laughing.

Parade goers watch as the St. Patrick's Day Parade starts down Market St. Saturday, March 12, 2016 in York City. Amanda J. Cain photo

The outfits: Many parade-goers were decked out head to toe in Irish attire and props. Kids were given green inflatable bat-like objects they were using to make noise, although some of them just ended up hitting one another with the toys.

Tim McNicholas, of West York, was wearing an oversized inflatable green hat, with and oversized inflatable green mug tied to a necklace he was wearing. McNicholas was celebrating the day with his family. McNicholas was proud of his giant green mug,

"I'm willing to put it up against any red Solo cup in York County," he said. He said the mug was so big he could fit any type of Irish food in there.

His son, 10-year-old Seamus, was also wearing Irish attire.

"This is my favorite part," Seamus said. He was wearing a green hat and socks, as well as a light-up necklace of four-leaf clovers.

Tim said he and his family would be celebrating the day after the parade, with traditional Irish meals, such as corned beef, cabbage and Guiness beer.

Yeaple said she was happy with turnout which she said was between 10,000 and 12,000.

Parade winners: The following parade participants received awards during Saturday's festivities:

  • Best Decorated Vehicle (commercial): York Revolution Baseball Team
  • Best Decorated Vehicle (non-commercial): Penn-Mar Irish Festival
  • Best Antique Vehicle: Harvey Lilly
  • Best Individual/ Family group: Celtic Trio
  • Best Float: York Fish and Oyster Co.
  • Best Nonprofit Organization: May Day Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm
  • Best Honor Guard: Cedar Cliff High School Army JROTC
  • Best Media Entry (non-float): abc27
  • Best Irish Dance Group: McGinley School of Irish Dance
  • Grand Prize — Best of Parade Winner: Clan Walsh

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at cdornblaser@yorkdispatch.com.