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Thousands turn out for Colorado Springs St. Patrick's Day parade

March 15, 2015 Updated: March 15, 2015 at 4:31 am
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photo - Magnum P.I. the bulldog walks in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Colorado Springs Saturday, March 14, 2015. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette
Magnum P.I. the bulldog walks in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Colorado Springs Saturday, March 14, 2015. Michael Ciaglo, The Gazette 

A wave of revelers wearing green holiday attire flooded downtown Colorado Springs on Saturday to celebrate the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade.

Sunny skies and a light cool breeze greeted the thousands of attendees who lined Tejon Street, filled bars and pubs and cheered as floats passed by.

The 31st annual parade, which started at noon, featured the city's usual display of school marching bands, military personnel and first responders. Other participants included Irish dancers, supporters of political candidates and people on roller skates and motorcycles.

About 2,000 to 2,200 people were expected to take part in the procession, said John O'Donnell, parade committee chairman.

St. Patrick's Day is Tuesday.

Robert Clark wore an oversized green top hat and looked on with delight as people passed by. Clark, who was visiting from Wyoming, said that when he heard about the parade, "he had to come" check it out.

"I think it's great," he said. "I think it's awesome."

While not Irish, Clark said, he was there for the day's festivities.

Those in attendance included participants in a 5K run earlier in the morning, which started and ended at Acacia Park in downtown. Many of the entrants wore green T-shirts from the run as they watched the parade.

The parade cut through downtown, starting at St. Vrain and Tejon streets, and ended at Vermijo Avenue and Tejon.

The Rev. O.J. Mooneyham stood near Pikes Peak Avenue and Tejon, enjoying the warm weather and the sights and sounds.

Mooneyham, a former firefighter, wore a green and gold top hat, a fake orange beard and a green jacket with a Colorado Emerald Society - an organization of public safety officials with Irish ancestry - logo.

Mooneyham, who is Irish, said coming to the parade was about more than celebrating his heritage.

"Colorado Springs needs to be more excited about who we are, and parades are about that," he said.

"It's a chance to come out of the house and bump into people."

He didn't mind sharing the festival with the masses.

"It's nice, too, because you don't have to be Irish to be here," he said.

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Contact Stephen Hobbs: 636-0275

Twitter @bystephenhobbs

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