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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Thing 9: An Early St. Patrick's Day

9 Things I learned at the DC St. Patrick's Day Parade this afternoon on Constitution Ave:

1. DC has a St. Patrick's Day Parade. It is in its 36th year and I had never heard about it. I am not the only one -- it is not particularly well attended. We arrived at noon as it was starting and easily found standing room with no one in front of us.

St. Patrick's Day parade in Washington, DC2. DC is just like any other small town. This claims to be "The 'Nation's' Parade," but during two hours of parade there was nothing that you wouldn't see in any small town parade. There were the fire trucks, police motorcycles, high school and middle school marching bands of varying levels of talent, dog clubs and sports clubs and antique WWII vehicles. There were floats made with crepe paper and dancing school children and people throwing tootsie rolls and stale bubble gum to kids on the sidelines. Except for the inclusion of the Air Force Marching Band, this was any other small town parade.

3. Shriners are weird. Their mini corvettes are odd, their fezzes are not at all protective and serve no discernible purpose. They don't seem to be having any fun as they zip about in their tiny cars. And they completely freak out the Boyfriend.

Every Irish Celtic dance school on the eastern seaboard was featured.4. Every Irish school girl in the DC-MD-VA area attends an Irish dance school. There were no less than seven Irish dancing schools represented in the parade, some with a hundred little girls or more trailing behind the float and step dancing in near-unison. All the little girls wear corkscrew curl hair extensions.

5. Don't trust the program. The two entries I was most looking forward to, the Morehouse College "House of Funk" Marching Band and T.H.I.S Christian Rockers Marching Band did not show up. The Christian Rockers were scheduled to come third to last in the parade too, so we stayed until the bitter end only to learn that they weren't coming at all.

Unclear6. There are very low standards for entry into the parade. Irish step dance and emerald societies? Sure, that makes sense. Fire trucks and marching bands? Well, OK, they're in every parade. Bagpipes? Technically Scottish, but same region as Ireland, so what the heck. The Bavarian Folk Dance Society and Falun Dafa Traditional Chinese Dance? Um...what? I think I have discovered why the parade has over 100 entries and lasts more than two hours.

7. Leprechauns are terrifying.

8. The Greenbelt Dog Training Parade Marching Drill Team rules! I loved these guys! Their dogs were adorable and (obviously) well trained. The Washington Showstoppers Community Band, er, stopped the show. The band itself wasn't the best we saw, but their dancers were great and everyone actually seemed to enjoying themselves, which was not true of some the prize winning bands that had passed us earlier.

9. Guinness is good for you. Or at least it is wonderfully restorative after spending a couple hours on your feet and fighting little kids for tootsie rolls. Happy St. Patrick's Day to me!


Ed said...

Hello! I'm glad to hear you had a great time at the parade. I did, too, and like you, this was my first time after I don't want to say how many years living in this area.

Great video of the doggies! I am beside myself, though, because I didn't get any good video of the parade, especially of those cute kids who performed Irish stepdancing (my favorite part of the parade). I am really anxious to get video of the group dressed in black who came right after the Irish Wolfhounds. Do you have any video of that you'd be willing to share with me? If so, I would be ever so grateful! Could you drop me a line at:

Thanks so much!

-- Ed

Linda said...

Does anyone have the phone number for the Washington Showstoppers or a website. I can't find any info or contact? Thanks

Anonymous said...

I am able to get you the information for the Washington Showstoppers Band Linda if you still need it let me know.

Anonymous said...

Linda you can e-mail me on for the Washington Showstoppers Band information.