St. Pat's parade lines up fun for Valley families
By JOHN W. GOODWIN JR.
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Dozens of cars, vans and lawn chairs lined each side of Market Street Sunday, each filled with people smiling in anticipation of an early coming of the Irish at the 23rd St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Most spectators, wise to the annual event, came prepared with baskets full of food and thermoses filled with coffee, cocoa or something else hot enough to fight off the cold weather.
Children were bundled in hats, gloves and heavy coats, but almost every child carried something extra -- a small plastic bag to scoop up the candy, suckers and other treats tossed from passing parade vehicles.
Kurt Hilderbrand of Poland and his son Kent staked out a small spot away from the crowd and set up camp. The father and son team came prepared with food, drink and extra blankets. Hilderbrand said he was combining lunch with the parade.
Mike Scanlon of Boardman moved to the area from Connecticut and was enjoying his second year at the parade. Scanlon said he enjoyed the 2000 parade and decided to come out, along with about 10 friends and family members, to watch the festivities again.
Family tradition: Kurt Durina of Liberty said the annual parade is a major tradition in his family. He said he used to come out with his mother. Now he brings his son, who enjoyed the parade from atop the family car.
"I have only missed about eight or nine [parades] since they started. We used to go when they were downtown every year as a family, but my mother can't come anymore. Now, this is the next generation," he said, pointing to his son Kevin.
An added treat for the kids watching the parade was the cartoon characters such as Tigger the tiger that marched along and shook hands with the youngsters. YSU mascots Pete and Penny Penguin were also on hand.
The large-headed, smiling figures were absent from last year's parade. Tim Mulholland, parade committee president, said using the costumes in the parade largely depends on the weather. They cannot be used in heavy rain, he said.
In addition to the costume characters, spectators were treated to floats, bands, clowns and marchers. Several local police and fire departments made the march, along with area politicians and radio and television personalities.
Grand marshal: Casey Malone, CD 93.3 the Wolf and 570 WKBN radio personality, served as grand marshal, with YSU head football coach Jon Heacock serving as Lord Mayor of Kilkenny.
During the parade, many spectators took part in a parade party at the Caffe Capri Italian Bar & amp; Grill along the parade route. The parade reviewing stand has been in the restaurant parking lot since the parade was moved to the township, but owner Ron Quaranta Jr. said this is the first year the business has thrown a party.
Quaranta said the restaurant just received a license to sell alcohol on Sunday, which is what led to the decision to open the doors during the parade. He is planning to make it an annual event.
Spectators also enjoyed another annual parade party several blocks away at the Operating Engineers Hall at McClurg Road and Southern Boulevard. A capacity crowd danced and enjoyed hot dogs, pop and chips to cap off the day.