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A Look Back At The Old Neighborhood St. Patrick’s Day Parade

On this beautiful sunny mid-summer like day I parked at Smith and Elk next to St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church church parking lot, just seconds before the high noon start of the Valley Community Association’s 15th Annual “Old Neighborhood ” St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The parade retraces the original 1913 parade route, winding through historic streets of South Park Avenue, Smith Street, Elk Street, Hamburg Street, and O’Connell Avenue, from the Valley and Old First Ward neighborhoods.

Oh, the sights of a parade!: Over 60 floats in all, many with banners
of family clans over numerous generations. I recognized Western New
York representative Congressman Brian Higgins and Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown
marching side by side.

Animals were part of the parade: a cute bulldog with a huge green
bowtie, and a svelte greyhound with a green sweater and some lady’s hat.

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         Iron workers Local #6 float stacked two high making the turn at Smith and Elk

A Six foot tall leprechaun! Two beautiful horses pulling a cowboy in old school wagon with wooden wheels. A green incredible hulk. And an Irish wagon with lad seated wearing a Donegal cap. Plus St. Patrick himself.

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            Had the Green Hornet made it to Buffalo for the parade?
 
From time to time I toast “Live, Love and Laugh.” I do love how the Buffalo Irish put it though on one of their banners: “Celebrate Family Friends Tradition …  Live Well – Laugh Often – Love Much.” That really captures the spirit of the day.

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            Jimmy Buffett Parrot Heads were out in force 
 
The colorful Western New York Parrotheads had Parrot masks on their heads. Their party name? The Parrot Party. Actually they are connected to a world wide Jimmy Buffett organization. Perfect for this Buffalo July-like day. And some of the floats even had Porta Potties built onto the float. Very convenient that. 
 
Once upon a time I played keyboards in a St. Patty’s day parade in an UpDowntown float on a flatbed truck. I remember that when I saw an electric guitar player seated on top of his Fender amp on a modified shopping cart pushed by a bandmate. Now there is creativity.

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           Airborne Eddy Dobosiewicz and Marty Biniasz on the Dyngus Day-Mobile
 
Oh, there’s the red and white DyngusDayMobile! Its not too early to start planning for the day after Easter celebration after yet another parade, the Dyngus Day parade, at the art deco styled Buffalo Central Train Terminal. I hear Myron and Those Idiots will be performing their rock polka again this year.  
 
After the parade I was off to Ellicottville for their Mardi Gras parade (but that would be another post), so I was not able to stay for the Irish Hooley at the Valley Community Center, the spot where the parade began and where it ended.  Is Buffalo becoming the parade capital of the United States?
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