As a child, I loved finding a spot on the curb and waiting for the parade on Western Avenue to begin. I remember the crowds, the sea of green lining the streets. My favorite were the Irish dancers. They were beautiful and fantastic, with their big curly hair and legwork that seemed to defy gravity.
This year, they are attempting to make the event more family focused.
That being said..
Some of my most horrific memories of the parade were the things I witnessed as a child of the drunken madness that followed. Men urinating on people's front lawns, people passed out in the streets and throwing up in trash cans. I remember my mom covering my eyes on certain occasions, surely trying to shield me from whatever we were passing while trying to get back to our car.
I hope that the parade organizers are successful in their attempt to keep the parade "dry", although I doubt it. I personally know of people who will arrive three sheets to the wind. They have been partying since yesterday. I just hope they are smart enough not to drive while inebriated.
Unfortunately, drinking heavily and St. Paddy's Day go hand in hand. So, if you plan to take your children to the SSISPDP, plan on arriving early to find a parking spot and leaving as soon as the parade concludes to avoid the public asshattery that may follow.
On a positive note...The family togetherness and Irish pride that will displayed today is always impressive and well worth the trip to Western Avenue, even if you may have to put blinders on the kids at some point.
Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh! (St. Patrick's Day blessings to all!)