By Teri Mack
Baltimore Watchdog Staff Writer
Thousands of people came out for Baltimore’s 63rd St. Patrick’s Day Parade yesterday to enjoy cold Irish beer, vibrant green attire and Irish culture.
The parade took place near the Washington Monument and drew a crowd of about 50,000, according to Joanne Cox, the chairman of the St. Patricks’ Day committee.
“I look forward to it every year,” Cox said. “It’s a great family day.”
People in attendance wore green party beads and attire that showed the shamrock, also known as one of holiday’s symbols.
In addition, some men wore Irish Kilts with long knee-high socks. There was a dog spray painted green. One man wore a green Mohawk.
“This is a long-standing tradition between my mother and I to come to the parade,” said Scarlett Corso of Baltimore. “We’ve been doing this now for about 13 years. ”
Both held cups of beer while Corso’s mother wore a sparkly green mask. She said she had many friends in the parade.
Julie Dietzel-Glair, who ran in the Shamrock 5K race that occurred before the parade, said people do not have to be Catholic or from Ireland to enjoy the parade.
Robert and Heather Musick agreed, adding that the parade is a time to have fun.
“I think it’s more of an excuse to come out [to] party [and] drink in the street and have a good time…support your local bar,” Robert Musick said.
“It’s a family friend tradition,” Heather Musick said. “We’ve been doing this since all of those kids up there were in my belly.”
Heather Musick said her favorite part of the parade are the fire engines and Mustangs.
Lauren Merill, who has been on the St. Patricks’ Day Parade planning committee for eight years, said she finds the work to organize the event rewarding.
She said she works with 100 different groups and bands that are involved in the march.
Some of the people and groups that marched in the parade included Mayor Catherine E. Pugh, “The World’s Tallest Leprechaun” on still walkers, animal rescue groups, kids, Irish dogs, dancers, Catholics bands and cheerleaders, horses, vintage cars, and the city’s police and fire departments.
“It’s a good time to come out and meet some of the people in the community and see some of the groups that are operating and making an impact in Baltimore,” Merill said.
The parade started at 2 p.m. The roads were blocked off for the parade on North Charles Street and Pratt Street. The police stood along the side of the road to control traffic and provide security.
People watched from fold-out chairs while othersstood on the sidewalks on opposite sides of the street.
A few police motorcycles led by Pugh went down Charles Street. She wasfollowed by representatives of the Baltimore City Police Department, including officers on horses, a vintage police car, and a few police SUV’s.
The Calvert Hall College High school from Towson was runner up holding its banner. Behind them was their marching band playing their horns, drums, and flutes.