You might not see leprechauns a-leaping, but you will see a drill team of librarians putting their library carts to creative use at the 35th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade downtown.
“It’s the first major community event after you’ve been sitting in 8 inches of snow and been cooped up inside all winter,” said John O’Donnell, whose company, O’Donnell & O’Donnell, founded the parade in 1985. “It’s an opportunity to get out and off the couch.”
About 20,000 to 25,000 people will line the sidewalks at noon Saturday, hoping for the perfect spot to cheer on 2,000 marchers in 100 parade entries. Longtime businessman and philanthropist Jay Cimino will lead it all as this year’s grand marshal.
Heidi Buljung, senior librarian at the Pikes Peak Library District, will be one of those marchers, along with her library compatriots who make up the book cart drill team. They got their start in 2016 during the Festival of Lights parade and have become more polished with their fanciful routines since.
“We can wave in a parade, and that’s fine and fun. But we’re doing something that libraries all over the country do,” she said. “We’re doing something fun and crowd-pleasing and getting everybody interested in the library. We walk down Tejon Street and people say how much they love the library. It’s very heartwarming.”
For those who want a bit more than standing and watching, there’s the St. Pat’s 5K and Pedaling for St. Pat’s Ride the morning of the parade. The run attracts about 2,000 participants, and the ride gets 300 to 400 bicyclists.