St. Patty’s Parade ‘universal’

Philadelphia was a sea of green yesterday as people came out in droves to celebrate the city’s 241st annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.

Decked out in top hats, tiaras, boas and beads, spectators blew on noisemakers and cheered for the passing troupes.

“We moved to Cherry Hill, but we come back every year,” Michael Cubbage said as he watched his niece and sister stepping with the Ireland Dancers. Standing with wife Kathleen and daughter Kayla, he set up camp near the Art Museum with a small folding chair and cooler.

Citizens of all ages and races gathered for an afternoon of music and fun at Philadelphia’s largest annual parade, the second-oldest in the country at 241 years and counting.

“It’s a great day for the Irish,” echoed Mike Flaherty of the Southwest Saint Patrick’s Club after he finished marching, “I could not be happier.”

But yesterday’s festivities were certainly not limited to one nationality.

“Saint Patrick’s Day is not just for the Irish,” contended Cleonia of West Philadelphia, who wore a necklace of plastic shamrocks as she danced to a traditional flute band, “It’s about peace, love and happiness. The city comes together. It’s universal.”

“I’m really enjoying myself,” longtime Fairmount resident Tony McLaughlin said. “I always do.”

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