Irish eyes and non-Irish eyes alike were smiling this weekend in Dublin. The city hosted its annual St. Patrick’s Day festival on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The festival, as always, drew in lots of visitors and native Dubliners as well. The festivities included something for everyone and the warm temperatures made it easy for people to get outdoors.
The fun kicked off Saturday morning with a parade down Patrick Street that kept onlookers entertained for about 30 minutes. The parade included a variety of floats, bicycles, tractors and four-legged friends. Grand Marshal Dannis Lozano got things rolling in the parade. Many of the floats represented various organizations in Dublin such as the Lions Club, Girl Scouts, Garden club and Senior Citizen’s Center. The float that had people talking was the one that carried this year’s Dublin royalty. The recently named Miss Dublin and her court rode down Patrick Street on the Dublin Chamber of Commerce’s float. Kesslea Johnson, the new Miss Dublin, waved to the crowd in her pink dress that was accented with black lace banding. The floats also shared the road with dogs and horses. Many of the canines in the parade were sporting green coats as they wagged down the street.
After the parade came to a close, the crowd headed toward the Dublin city park, in search of food and fun. There were many vendors on hand to cater to both of these wishes. Revelers were treated to a full range of lunch and dinner choices and of course, some cold Dublin Dr Pepper. Once the culinary crowd was done feasting, they shopped the various booths of arts, crafts, jewelry and candles lined up under the park pavilion and inside of the park building. People with a heart for animals also had a chance to look at the dogs available for adoption through Dublin Dogs. Many of the furry creatures were on hand to show people what kinds of dogs are available for adoption.
Also in the park were the Highland games. This event, which featured 10 competitors from around the state, was a big draw. Spectators watched as the men, who were all wearing kilts, threw stones, hammers and logs.
“We all travel around and compete in these events all over the state. The points are kept and eventually, we have a winner,” said participant John Brumby, who has been competing in the Highland games since last April.
The events simulate how the Highlanders fended off their enemies and kept their lands. The games date all the way back to the time when Highlanders fought with the Vikings.
Once visitors had seen all the sights, many headed back to Old Doc’s Soda Shop for a green frosty pepper to finish things off. Many visitors had traveled a long way to enjoy the luck of the Irish. Some people had learned about the festival on the Internet, but most had family or friends who knew of Dublin and their festivals.
“I’ve been hearing that this is the biggest St. Patrick’s Day festival that we have had,” said Karen Wright, executive director of the Dublin Chamber of Commerce.
Whether it was the sun, the food, the parade or just the Dr Pepper, many people came out and “painted the town green.”