Roanoke’s Big Parade

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From politicians to “parrot-heads” to pipers, the annual McDonald’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Roanoke – which was longer than ever – featured lots o’ green on a day when everyone is a wee bit Irish. Participating were vintage fire trucks, baton twirlers, plenty of clowns, bagpipes, the Sons of Norway, World War II veterans, marching bands – you name it. David Bowers was there, as was his contender in the race for mayor of Roanoke, Mark Lucas. Congressman Bob Goodlatte also worked the crowd as he walked down Jefferson Street. Panelists judged the floats that passed by the review stand. Winners included: Old Southwest (best neighborhood float), Parrots of the Blue Ridge (best non-profit, also best overall), 29th Division Association (most patriotic), Vikings of the Valley (ironically, best Celtic themed) and the Roanoke Civic Center (best business). Local shops seemed to benefit from the extra traffic downtown and vendors set up booths on Campbell Avenue to sell Irish-themed merchandise. The Roanoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade has become one of the largest in the southeastern United States.

-Gene Marrano