The Irish spirit is alive and well in Spokane as the flag of Ireland flies above City Hall and thousands flocked to the downtown streets for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade on Saturday.
Families packed the sidewalks shoulder to shoulder, many dressing the part.
Mya Mininger, 9, was sporting the green.
She wore a green cowboy hat sparkling with shamrocks, a green bow tie and beaded green necklaces. Topping it off: a droopy black mustache.
“That’s her signature,” her mother said.
Trucks and bagpipers honked and droned, and Mininger replied with her own vuvuzela.
The parade was complete with animals of all kinds: dachshunds, basset hounds, llamas, ferrets and horses.
Joy Katterfeld rode Cricket, a rescued horse with a damaged ear, in the parade. She loves watching the children as she passes by.
“They have their mouths open and they forget to smile – absorbing it – ‘It’s green,’ ” Katterfeld said, referring to her horse, painted green for the parade.
The parade is always a blast for Mayor David Condon. He has walked the route for about 20 years, Condon said.
It’s a good time to pull out his County Cork kilt – and “it’s a great time to kick off spring in Spokane,” he added.
While some celebrated with a pint of green beer into the evening, others like the Spokane County Firefighters Pipe and Drums, a band consisting of firefighters and police officers, continued their Irish-themed music throughout the day at downtown bars in addition to others in the area. St. Patrick’s Day is always the busiest day of the year for the band, which has been playing about three years.
“We’re worn out – it takes a lot to keep playing,” band member Chris Wetherell said.
But the moment they squeeze into a confined bar, they power through, Wetherell said.
“Most of these people don’t know we’re coming,” he said. “If you walk in there – all of a sudden they’re like what – woah – pipes?”