Mar 22, 2012 Neil Benjamin Jr. Uncategorized
It’s an Irish celebration, St. Patrick’s Day, but for the city of Syracuse, it was a gathering of people from all walks of life.
The 30th St. Patrick’s Day parade brought out a massive crowd of people who wanted to check out the floats, drink a few adult beverages and enjoy the stunningly beautiful summer, err, March weather on Saturday, March 17.
Some were there with their family in tow, while others were enjoying the day with friends. But no matter the age, it seemed that every person in attendance had a Guinness of a good time.
For 27-year-old Andrew Menkes, a Syracuse resident who was born and raised in Massena, it was an afternoon to behold. He was there with a large group of friends, and had been out since the early morning.
“I’ve been coming here for years,” said Menkes, clad in a green shirt, green shorts and even green Nike sneakers. “It’s so much fun. You get to see this awesome parade, and all these families out here. It’s a blast. And the weather is making for an even better time.”
Street vendors lined the sidewalks, selling everything from beer and hot dogs to shirts and green memorabilia. When the parade got underway, many of the younger attendees spilled into the street to watch the floats and marchers stroll by.
It wasn’t just locals who came to enjoy the festivities. A family of four from Guilderland came out here to see what some friends have told them about the parade.
Glen McEhleny, a 31-year-old carpenter, and his wife, Alyssa, brought their 2-and 3-year-old sons for their first St. Patrick’s parade experience of any kind.
“I am fully Irish, and I want my children to be able to enjoy their heritage,” said Glen. “So far, they seem to love it all. It’s a bit different from when I was younger and would celebrate this holiday. I am a bit more mature when the family is around.”
Bars and restaurants in Armory Square and all throughout downtown opened up early in the morning, which meant that some of the people in attendance had started their good time very early. There were a few people who seemed like they had enough fun by noon, but for the most part the atmosphere was fun and laid-back.
Tom Belair, 26, was there with Menkes and said that it was the weather that forced him to come to the parade. He was on the fence about fighting through the enormous crowd, as he put it, but ended up loving the vitamin D as well as the people.
“I’m not one to really fight through a lot of people,” he said. “But there was space and everyone seemed to be in a good mood. I guess that’s what great weather, beer and a celebration of the Irish will do for people.”
Overall, the sense was that the St. Patrick’s Day parade was another big hit with all involved.
“I’ll definitely be here next year,” Menkes added. “And maybe I’ll come out earlier so I can see what it’s like to start the party at 7 in the morning.”
Neil Benjamin Jr. can be reached at email@example.com.