MICHIGAN CITY — There was no shortage of Irish spirit and happy faces for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Irish dancers, several groups of bagpipers wearing kilts, and clowns in shamrock-decorated costumes were among the 50-plus units last Saturday that walked Franklin Street downtown.
Doug Vorel of Michigan City wore green “Irish Proud” suspenders, a green hat in the shape of a beer mug, and green glasses with flashing lights on the frames while drinking beer from a bottle in the 40-degree weather.
Vorel came with his cousin, Beth Hesterman.
Hesterman, wearing a green bow tie on her head and a green sports jacket, caught a flight from Delaware to pay him a visit and attend the parade for her first time.
“We absolutely love it,” she said.
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Audrey Brooks of Michigan City was dressed as an Irish princess, complete with a green emerald crown. She was with her dog, Lilly, whose body was covered by a green shirt with a shamrock on it.
Brooks said the parade she attends every year is a great way to get out from under winter to be with family members and friends.
“It’s getting together and it’s a good time with good people,” she said.
Michael Bergerson of Long Beach celebrated his Irish heritage by wearing an outfit typical of what’s in fashion for men dressing formally in Ireland.
Bergerson also wore a tweed hat and green knit scarf displaying black shamrocks.
He’s been to Ireland a few times, and his grown sons are legal residents of both countries.
“I have Irish in my blood that’s for sure,” he said.
The well-attended parade featured horses with green-colored hooves and riders wearing green cowboy hats.
“It’s a fun thing to do and it brings the youth out to see some horses,” said Bradley Hutchinson, who came from the LaPorte area with his majestic-looking American Saddlebred horse.
Brenna Lindsey of Michigan City was there with her 7-year old son, Jacob, and other family members.
The joy she feels is what brings her out to the parade every year. “The kids. I like to see the smiles on their faces,” Lindsey said.
Many people in the parade handed candy to children along the route or threw it on the pavement for them to rush over and pick up.
There were also plenty of soap bubbles flying in the air.
The bubbles were made from a small machine running continuously from the sidewalk in front of 613 Franklin St.
Also in the parade were numerous candidates for mayor and council seats who shook hands with people on both sides of the route.
LaPorte County Councilman Mark Yagelski, one of five Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for mayor in the May primary, said the parade is vintage Michigan City.
“I’m having a great time. It’s an opportunity for the community to get together,” he said.
“We are enjoying ourselves,” said City Councilwoman Angie Nelson Deuitch, who’s also running for mayor as a Democrat.
Mayor Duane Parry, unopposed for the Republican nomination in his bid for a second term, waved to the crowd while on foot in front of a group of bagpipers.
“This is Americana. This is what we’re about,” he said.