The Holyoke St. Patrick's Day parade is a family tradition. I have memories as a child watching the parade as the beautiful floats went by with the Irish princesses riding high atop. The bands marching by playing Irish music, the Mummers, Shriners, and all the festivities of the day. I marched in the parade with my high school band my freshman and sophomore year, and as the majorette (although not a very good one) my junior year. My Senior Year...I had the privelege of riding on one of those beautiful floats, as an Irish princess...the experiences of that year, I will carry on forever. In my college years I was close enough to car pool down with a bunch of my sorority sisters and crash the many house parties along the parade route.
Flash forward 20 years (yes, it has been that long). I am carrying on that tradition with my kids. In these parts, or at least in the circle I was raised, being Irish is a pretty big deal. Each of the surrounding towns holds a Colleen Contest to choose a Colleen and Court to ride on the float that the town enters in the parade. In my town, we have 20 - 30 girls each year entering the contest for 5 coveted spots. Year after year the float committee builds a grand prize winning, Parade of Roses worthy float. Since my experience as a court member was such a vivid memory from my teenage years, I am lucky enough to be on the Colleen Committee for the Irish club in my town. This year, the kids and I accompanied the girls to and from the parade. The kids also had the honor of carrying the banner for the Westfield Parade Marshall...who just happens to be their uncle.
While taking pics of the kids and marchers, I also thought it would be fun to take pics of the parade watchers...
It was the first day of Spring and a great day for a parade!
from the top left to right:
Kelsey with her big bright Irish smile; Kelsey & JT carrying the banner for the Uncle; JT taking a break along the parade route: Westfield's Grand Prize winning Float; Westfield Colleen and her court; the float again; because every parade needs a chicken; party house; me and my sister in law Lisa.