Monday, March 13, 2006

D.C.'s Real St. Patrick's Day Parade

I went to the (six days early) St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday. With St. Patty falling on this Friday, I doubt many people thought of the parade taking place yesterday. I certainly didn't mind because I didn't arrive on Constitution Avenue until a few minutes before the start. I had been warned of large crowds, but the early date gave us plenty of room on the curb to stretch out. A smaller crowd was good for us, but it didn't help the program sellers walking up and down. By the way, they kept asking for $1 throughout the parade, but shouldn't it have at least gone down to $0.50 by 2 PM?

How exactly do you tune a bagpipe?

The parade was 2.5 hours long, which was about an hour longer than it needed to be. I know I could have left at anytime, but I got addicted to bagpipes so just when I thought about leaving, I'd hear another set coming down the road. I'm all for celebrating different cultures and heritages, but I can only take so many Irish dance clubs/groups dancing on their flatbed trucks. Sure I know nothing about that dancing, but I wasn't impressed.

Everyday, Irish mothers are thankful for wigs with curled hair.

Why did every third firetruck driver feel the need to blast the truck's horn? Without any noise pollution, the horns were incredibly loud and had me covering my ears until they were a block past. I'd hate to be in one of the troupes/floats in front of a truck and have to hear that all day, or worse yet, those people riding on the ladder extension who were all of 3 feet away. Also, why were ultimate frisbee players in the parade? I know I suck and haven't played in a few months, but those guys couldn't complete any of their simple throws...damn hippies.

Instead of throwing candy from the ladder, I would have liked some earplugs.

I'd like to commend the paradees on using candy to keep all of the kids interested, but this really backfired a few times. When candy wasn't thrown close enough to the curb, kids ran into the street to grab their grub. Yet, police would ride along the curb to ensure the parade had enough room to get by. Well, one time, this kid ran to the third lane out from the curb for some candy while a cop on his motorcycle (and sidecar) came roaring up the curb in the second lane. The fear was the kid would hear the engine and turn just as the cop went by, ensuring a calamity (I like that word). The kid's mother called for him to be careful, causing him to turn around, but just a second after the bike zoomed by. It would not have been a good scene otherwise.

I know I'm not the only one who was curious what a fall from one of these bikes would look like.

I enjoyed the classic corvettes that revved their engines all the way down and the competition they got into with one of the police Harleys for loudest engine. It was sadly funny that one of the loudest applauses went to the kids who had to follow the horses with buckets and shovels. Other highlights included the: first set of bagpipers, Shriner cars, tall bikes, only drum line, live Irish music float for some bar, and watching kids fight over candy like their lives depended on it.

The ultimate go-kart.

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