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Annual St. Patrick's Day parade a cavalcade of fun

Camille Taylor, left, and Paige Madrigal flank St. Patrick's Day Parade co-ordinator Jackie Davis at Price Floral. Preparations are underway for the procession, one of only two such events in the state.
Whether or not this dog at last year's parade had any choice in the matter of his coloring, most enjoyed this event. This year's procession begins at noon at Fourth East (by Subway) and proceeds to Second West.
Wayne Clausing, manager at Sutherlands home improvement store is the Grand Marshal for this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

By GREG EICHELBERGER
Sun Advocate reporter

This year's event should be no different, but preparation and volunteer work is the key

St. Patrick is known as the patron saint of Ireland, even though he was not a born Irishman. But he has become an integral part of the Irish heritage, mostly through his service across Ireland of the 5th century.

Patrick was born in the later half of the 4th century AD. There are differing views about the exact year and place of his birth. According to one school of opinion, he was born about 390 A.D., while the other school says it is about 373 AD. Again, his birth place is said to be in either Scotland or Roman England.

His real name was probably Maewyn Succat. Though Patricius was his Romanicized name, he was later came to be familiar as Patrick. In addition to his many good works, as well as converts to Catholicism, St. Patrick reportedly put the curse of God on venomous snakes in Ireland, driving them into the sea where they drowned.

Whether one believes these tales or not, over 1,000 years later, the name St. Patrick conjures up one thing, a great excuse to party. Here in Carbon County, that could not be more true as festivities sponsored by Downtown Alive are due to kick off Saturday, March 13 at 8:30 a.m.

The fun will begin with a green eggs and ham breakfast (this repast will benefit the Humane Society of Carbon County) and continue through noon with the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

This event is one of only two such processions in the state and begins at Fourth East (near the Subway sandwich shop) and ends at Second West. The whole things takes about 30 minutes to complete.

It isn't the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif. but it's enjoyable to the residents of Price and her environs, nonetheless.

It began as a vision of two men, Corky Miller and then-mayor Art Martinez, in 1982 and has been going strong ever since - although there were a few lean years when sponsorships of one form or another were difficult to come up with.

Now sponsored by the Downtown Association (a group of local merchants) and Price City, and headed by a committee of one - Jackie Davis - since 1995, this parade has become somewhat of a popular institution, even though it isn't even the largest cavalcade in Price. That honor goes to the yearly International Days Parade - also led by Davis.

"I guess you could call me the eternal parade chairwoman," joked the owner of Price Floral on Main. "I think the reason this is so successful is because it is really the first event of spring.

"Nothing has really happened - celebration-wise since New Year's," she added. "People are looking to go outside and have some fun. Of course, we're still at the mercy of the weather - sometimes it's 70 degrees, sometimes it snows - but people still come out to see it. It sort of marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It's a real kick."

Davis added that St. Patrick's Day, by its very nature, is one of the most enjoyable holidays as it is. The parade just seems to make it that much better. As with any such procession, there are a great many children from the various elementary and secondary educational academies involved.

Kids of all ages march, play instruments, ride floats and/or pass out candy, flowers or coupons. Those who do not are lining the streets of this small hamlet watching with wide-eyed enthusiasm - the kind of enthusiasm reserved only for little ones and parades.

Of course, as popular as this affair is, Davis is still under some stress to pull things off each year. "For some reason, participants seem to wait until the last minute to enter," she said. "Right now I have about 12 or 13 entries. By Friday, I will have around 25. It's like that every season. I think people are waiting to see what the weather is like before they fully commit. It always seems to work out, however."

One reason for the success of this event is the hard work put in by volunteers, as well as those "forced" to assist Davis, like her employees at the flower shop, especially Camille Taylor, Paige Madrigal, Pat Tucker and Kriss Larsen. Also lending invaluable aid is Davis' husband, Larry, and daughter Acacia (named after the flower, naturally), 24.

"I'd still like to remind everyone to send in their entry forms," Davis said. "Join groups like Miss Castle Valley and Miss Carbon County and their royal courts, as well as Black Diamond Legends Rodeo, Job's Daughters, Busy Bee and Active Re-Entry (a community-based program to assist the disabled) that have already signed up. It's a fun event everyone who takes part in will remember forever.

"Putting this together is certainly not drudgery," she concluded. "It's a bit stressful, but it's fun and makes people happy. That's why I do it."

For more information on the parade and how to enter, call Davis at 637-2231.




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