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St. Patrick’s parade helps make Tucson a bit Irish

Citizen Staff Writer



Tucson’s St. Patrick’s Day parade filled downtown streets Sunday with the Irish, the wannabe Irish, floats, antique cars, trucks, fire engines, dancers, pipers, drummers and people who just love a parade.

While Tuesday is St. Patrick’s Day, the parade was 11 a.m. to about noon Sunday.

Among those watching was 80-year-old Betty Kwasny, who came to Tucson from Ohio to visit her family.

“I’m from Cleveland;. This is the first Irish parade I’ve seen in my life,” Kwasny said.

“I liked it all. I loved the bagpipes and the girls dancing the Irish jig,” said Kwasny, who is not Irish.

For 10-year-old Echo Goodrich, who is home schooled by her mother, Dia Goodrich, 36, Sunday’s parade also was a first.

“This is my first” parade, the baton-twirling Echo said before the marching began. “I think it’s going to be fun.”

After the parade, she said, “I thought it was awesome.”

Asked if she saw any of the parade, Echo said, “No, but I think it’s better to be in it than to watch it.”

Kerry Mullen, 35, here from Tewksbury, Mass., to visit family, is a regular at St. Patrick’s Day parades back home.

“Back home we usually take in two a year,” Mullen said.

As for whether Mullen has Irish blood, she quickly answered, “With a name like Kerry, can’t you tell?”

With Mullen were her 4-year-old daughter, Julia Mullen, and her two-month-old daughter, Olivia Mullen.

“I liked the Darth Vader and the (antique) trucks,” Julia said.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is a family affair, but Sonia Navarro, 32, and her family seem to have taken it to an extreme.

After ticking off two sons, two uncles, four aunts and a number of cousins who had come to watch the festivities with her, Navarro gave up and blurted, “There was like 20 of us total.”

“It was fun,” Navarro said. “We especially liked the dancers and the clowns.”

If the parade was not enough fun, an Irish Festival was held at Armory Park, near the parade’s finish, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

People at the fair could buy Celtic souvenirs, Irish food, such as Irish stew or corned beef and wash it down with Irish whiskey or Guinness stout while listening to Irish music.

John Flanagan, president of the Tucson St. Patrick’s’ Day Parade and Festival Committee, said earlier that some 70 groups had signed up to be in the parade.

He estimated there were 5,000 spectators lining the parade route and that 2,000 people would go to the festival throughout the day.

St. Patrick’s parade helps make Tucson a bit Irish

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