St. Patrick’s Day parade takes over downtown Portland

Posted March 16, 2014, at 5:18 p.m.
Sisters Sarah Earley, 9, (left) and Maggie, 11, march in the Irish American Club of Maine's annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Portland on Sunday. The girls represented the Maine Irish Heritage Center which hosted a luncheon following the parade.
Sisters Sarah Earley, 9, (left) and Maggie, 11, march in the Irish American Club of Maine's annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Portland on Sunday. The girls represented the Maine Irish Heritage Center which hosted a luncheon following the parade. Buy Photo
Members of Portland's Fire and Police Departments lead the annual St. Patrick's Day parade down Commercial Street on Sunday. The yearly parade is sponsored by the Irish American Club of Maine.
Members of Portland's Fire and Police Departments lead the annual St. Patrick's Day parade down Commercial Street on Sunday. The yearly parade is sponsored by the Irish American Club of Maine.
Shamus Colson, 7, gets ready to march in Portland's annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday, dressed as a leprechaun. The yearly parade is sponsored by the Irish American Club of Maine.
Shamus Colson, 7, gets ready to march in Portland's annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday, dressed as a leprechaun. The yearly parade is sponsored by the Irish American Club of Maine. Buy Photo
Students of the Stillson School of Irish Dance perform in Portland's annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Portland on Sunday. The school, founded by Carlene Moran Stillson, has been teaching Irish dance for over 20 years.
Students of the Stillson School of Irish Dance perform in Portland's annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Portland on Sunday. The school, founded by Carlene Moran Stillson, has been teaching Irish dance for over 20 years. Buy Photo
Students of the Stillson School of Irish Dance perform in Portland's annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Portland on Sunday. The school, founded by Carlene Moran Stillson, has been teaching Irish dance for over 20 years.
Students of the Stillson School of Irish Dance perform in Portland's annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Portland on Sunday. The school, founded by Carlene Moran Stillson, has been teaching Irish dance for over 20 years. Buy Photo
Kaitlyn Owen of Portland watches the annual St. Patrick's Day parade as it makes its way down Commercial Street on Sunday.
Kaitlyn Owen of Portland watches the annual St. Patrick's Day parade as it makes its way down Commercial Street on Sunday. Buy Photo
The Irish and American flags proceed down Commercial Street in Portland on Sunday in the annual Irish American Club of Maine's St. Patrick's Day parade. The event is always held on the Sunday before the holiday.
The Irish and American flags proceed down Commercial Street in Portland on Sunday in the annual Irish American Club of Maine's St. Patrick's Day parade. The event is always held on the Sunday before the holiday. Buy Photo
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan (right) and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, walk down Commercial Street in the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday.
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan (right) and U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, walk down Commercial Street in the city's annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday. Buy Photo
The Maine Public Safety Pipe and Drum Corps march down Commercial Street in Portland on Sunday in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. The group was founded in 2004.
The Maine Public Safety Pipe and Drum Corps march down Commercial Street in Portland on Sunday in the annual St. Patrick's Day parade. The group was founded in 2004. Buy Photo
A dog named Ramona Balzano wears a festive outfit for Portland's annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday. &quotShe's an Irish-Italian dog, she needs to be here," said caretaker DeeDee McGuire.
A dog named Ramona Balzano wears a festive outfit for Portland's annual St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday. "She's an Irish-Italian dog, she needs to be here," said caretaker DeeDee McGuire. Buy Photo

PORTLAND, Maine — A day before industrialized binge drinking in the name of St. Patrick takes over Portland’s Old Port district for 24 hours, a more family-friendly celebration of Ireland’s patron saint marched down Commercial Street on Sunday.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, sponsored by the Irish American Club of Maine, featured Boy and Girl Scouts, a pipe band, Irish dancers, unions, state champion basketball teams from Portland High School and Catherine McAuley High School and more green face paint than you could shake a shillelagh at.

“It’s the wonderful St. Patrick’s Day parade. We haven’t missed it yet,” said Carlene Stillson of the Stillson School of Irish Dance. “We love being a part of it.”

Her dancers leapt and frollicked for the crowd lining the street from the Fish Pier to the State Pier. Many children watching attempted to mimic the dancers’ graceful steps.

A group of marchers carried flags from all of Ireland’s 32 counties. U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, walked beside Portland Mayor Michael Brennan. Children in sparkling green wigs carried the banner for the Maine Irish Heritage Center, which hosted a post-parade luncheon.

“Everybody has a little Irish in them and everybody loves a parade,” said Irish American Club of Maine President Kathy Reilly.

 

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