St. Patrick's Day Celebrations
On St. Patrick's Day, Friday, March 17th, we attended both Cleveland's 175th St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Cleveland and the 150th St. Patrick's Day Banquet of the Ancient Order of Hibernians Boland Berry Division/Ladies Ancient Order of the Hibernians Our Lady of Rosary Division at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland.
As for the parade, the story is in the many photos that we took while we were there and sent in to be posted. Once again, as we have the for past several years, we rode with the East Side Irish American Club (ESIA) to the parade on Lolly the Trolley. Ms. Martha Chrosniak piloted Lolly and cheered us throughout our travels with her acute, funny observations about Cleveland such as "Cleveland is the only place where our tower is terminal and our lake is Erie."
Sitting near us on Lolly (just like last year) were Dr. B.J. Showman and Ms. Lonnie Kohler who are veteran parade-goers. There were more security precautions this year so before Lolly was allowed to take her place along the parade route some upbeat police officers came on board and kidded with us while Mike, a beautiful black Labrador, unobtrusively sniffed everything out and gave us his security clearance.
Once Lolly was in place, we had about a half hour to walk around and take pictures of the various floats. Of course, we really liked the one that the ESIA put together that had people dressed in costumes of different eras to depict the 175 years of history pertaining to our parade that we later learned won first prize. Other floats tried to make use of that theme also. We also enjoyed seeing the various bands and the various animals such as Irish Wolfhounds and Alpacas that would play a part in the parade too.
Then there was the huge red and yellow dragon designed by Mr. Tim Willis that menacingly opened and shut its mouth on cue. When we asked Mr. Willis exactly what was this strange, gigantic creation was, Mr. Willis laughed and said, "he's hungry, that's what he is!"
From our perspective, the parade moved along fairly quickly along a new route that took it around the public square area as Ms. Chrosniak led us in a chorus of "The Unicorn Song" by Shel Silverstein that the Irish Rovers made popular back in 1968.
Throughout the day the weather was a matter of concern because some meteorologists predicted that we would have snow that afternoon but nothing happened until after 6pm that evening when it snowed heavily for a while we were at the Hibernian Dinner.
At that time, we got to visit for a few minutes with Ms. Shannon M. Corcoran, Executive Director of the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee, who told us that she estimated that some 200,000 people were spectators at the parade which was a good number considering the cold weather (always a damper). Ms. Corcoran recalled that the best turnout was about 600,000 back in 2012 when the temperature was 77 degrees.
We shared a table with the family of Ms. Pat Hollywood who owns "Travel Connections" where we encountered Ms. Desiree Hollywood and Ms. April Deitch who tabled in close proximity to us at the Three Chamber 2017 Women's Expo in Twinsburg last January.
Other conversations that we had were with Mr. Tom Deighan with whom we discussed Ireland/U.S. dual citizenship and Mr. Sandy Reynolds who has been a member of the Hibernians for 45 years now and has missed neither a parade nor a banquet for all of those years. Ms. Reynolds was glad to introduce us to several of her friends who are actively involved with the Irish community in Northeast Ohio.
Unfortunately, due to shaky weather conditions we left soon after dinner but we would like to extend out congratulations to those honored that evening who were Mr. Roger S. Weist (Grand Marshall), Ms. Angela Murphy (Irish Mother of the Year), Mr. John Lackey and Ms. Margaret Lynch (Parade Co-Chairs), and Ms. Maire Kilbane Leffel (Hibernian of the Year).
As we were leaving we stopped to tell Reverend Thomas Mahoney that we appreciated it when he said during his opening prayer, "as Irish let us be sensitive to those displaced seeking asylum and refuge."
Margaret W. Wong & Assoc. Co., LLC