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In celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Baltimore held its 61st St. Patrick’s Day parade March 13 near the Inner Harbor.
“It’s important for people as a manifestation of their Irish identity and Irish culture,” said Brian Cahalane, 38, Irish political counselor of immigration. “The Irish have made distinctive contributions to Baltimore both in terms of the construction of the railways and many other aspects of city life so it’s that they strongly identify with their Irish culture.”
Baltimore also held The Shamrock 5K race for charity. The streets were crowded shoulder to shoulder for the festivities.
“It’s a great event downtown, it’s a family day,” said Joanna Cox, chairperson of the St. Patrick’s day Parade. “It’s not just for the Irish community, it’s for everybody.”
St. Patrick’s Day is widely celebrated as the day Christianity was first brought to Ireland. This is seen as a day when Americans of Irish descent can gather to celebrate and it is very inclusive.
“I’m not Irish really, my family is all Scots and English,” said Kevin Brown, 61, pipe major in the John F. Nicoll pipe band. “Usually in a day like today, all the Celts kind of pull together and say we’ll celebrate your holiday too.”
Highlights of the event were the the operable repaired cars and groups such as the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians, the Police Emerald Society and Pets on Wheels.
Marching bands included the Greater Kensington String Band, The Baltimore City Pipe Band, and the Woodland String Band. Each has its own flair and marching style.
“Along with the musical training they must learn marching and it’s not the typical American marching,” Brown said. “The Americans have a tendency to march in a stiffer style. The British system is more comfortable and the speed is a little different.”
Even though the event was met with overcast weather and intermittent showers, the parade did not stop and the people stayed to enjoy it.
“We get together as a family to go to an event that will lift our spirits up,” said John Talson, 13, parade goer. “I think it’s important to me because this happens once every year and some people don’t get to do this every year.”
See 10 parts of event here: