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Sisters Kathy Cody, Mary Olson and Pat Holbrook have been selected as the grand marshals of the 2009 St. Patrick's Day parade scheduled for March 17. Photo by Jackie Grumish

Earley descendants selected as St. Paddy's parade grand marshals

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Sisters Kathy Cody, Mary Olson and Pat Holbrook love everything about their Irish heritage -- including the celebration of St. Patrick's Day.

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The three were selected as grand marshals of New Richmond's 2009 St. Patrick's Day parade, scheduled for Tuesday, March 17.

The women were appointed by Ruth McCabe, their aunt and the person responsible for organizing the parade each year.

The daughters of Martin and Helen (Earley) Germain and grandchildren of Elmer and Mabel Earley are the third generation of Irish ancestors to live in the New Richmond area.

"Our great-grandparents lived in Ireland," Olson said.

New Richmond's parade started in 1978 when McCabe, a long-time resident and owner of McCabe's Shamrock Club, decided to organize a local parade after attending the parade in the Twin Cities for several years.

It started as a walking parade made up of Irish locals and has been growing ever since, the women said.

"It's the second largest get together in New Richmond," Cody said. "Other than Fun Fest."

The parade honors the Irish heritage and really brings families together, the sisters said.

"We've gone to the parade whenever we could," Olson said. "Whenever we didn't have to work."

The parade means many things to different people, they said.

"It gives people a chance to get out," Olson said. "You see a lot of people you haven't seen in awhile. It's like a winter break."

You don't have to be Irish to attend the parade, Holbrook said.

"On St. Patrick's Day everyone is Irish!" she said.

Streets packed with floats, pipers and unicyclers attract people from all over the area to the New Richmond parade.

There's only one rule -- you have to wear green, the sisters said.

The parade is scheduled to start at 4 p.m. in front of McCabe's Shamrock Club, 123 W. Third St.

The parade will proceed to South Knowles and head north two blocks. At West First Street, the route will turn and continue to Washington Avenue, past Immaculate Conception Church and St. Mary's School and then head east on Third Street back to McCabe's.

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Jackie Grumish
Jackie Grumish has been a reporter with the New Richmond News since 2008. She holds degrees in journalism and fine art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill. Before coming to New Richmond, Jackie worked as the city government reporter at a daily newspaper in Aberdeen, S.D. 
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