St. Patrick's Day 2023: Scituate paints the town green with annual parade
SCITUATE − Despite temperatures in the low 20s, crowds lined Front Street along Scituate Harbor for Sunday's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Green, white and orange banners rippled in the wind as gusts sent plastic hats patterned with shamrocks skidding down the road.
The cold didn't cool off the party atmosphere. A full two hours before the parade began, school buses were shuttling passengers from the parking lots of Scituate High School and Widow’s Walk Golf Course to prominent points along the parade's 2-mile route.
As 1 p.m. approached, space along the sidewalks started to disappear. Peddlers engaged the crowds, their pushcarts heavy with balloons, toys and Irish-themed novelties.
Anthony Orlando, of Gloucester, was selling balloons and noisemakers. He follows in the footsteps of his father, who worked parades and events from New England to New Orleans, including a Mardi Gras parade. Despite the cold, Orlando said he expected it to be a good day, just like last year.
“This town is very big on St. Paddy’s Day,” he said.
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Courtney Mandeville came from Halifax with her family and a friend’s family. Three of the five children in her party sat buried in a wool blanket on an enormous folding chair with six cup holders.
“We did the shuttle bus last year,” Mandeville said. “This year we got here early, set up our chairs and coolers. We’re 94.5% Irish. I looked it up yesterday."
The parade got off to a loud start. Ladder trucks from the Scituate, Norwell, Hanover and Cohasset fire departments rolled past, their sirens whirring and horns blaring. The New Hampshire Police Association's Pipe and Drum Band followed in green plaid kilts, providing a Celtic air over a drum beat.
Just outside the Hibernian Tavern, which was packed all afternoon, three generations of the McManus family enjoyed the sights and sounds. They trekked to the “Irish Riviera” from Dedham and Wrentham for the parade.
“We missed it during the COVID year. The kids love it,” said Peter McManus, whose grandchildren, ages 5 and 8, were enjoying a large whoopie pie with green frosting. McManus said he has great memories of the South Boston parade, but the Scituate parade is “a little less rowdy, a little more family.”
Soon another marching band was stepping down Front Street. The Crusaders Senior Drum and Bugle Corps played and sang "Oh Danny Boy," with the crowd joining in for a singalong. The Crusaders were followed by a float conveying this year's "Mayor of Scituate" winner, Mick Carlyle, who owns the Hibernian Tavern and the Drift In restaurant. He was accompanied by runner-up Alison Crowley-Short and an Irish folk ensemble.
Toward the end of the parade, a Revolutionary-era militia with powdered wigs and three-cornered hats marched in formation down Front Street. They fired muskets into the air with a loud clap and a lingering scent of sulfur.
The parade concluded as it began, with a fire truck, only this one was not local. Coming all the way from the North Pole, Santa Claus himself sat at the wheel, tossing handfuls of candy to crowds of young kids and young hearts as people packed up lawn chairs, coolers and extra blankets and headed for the parking lots.
This article originally appeared on The Patriot Ledger: Scituate holds annual St. Patrick's Day parade