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St. Paddy's Parade set this afternoon

New Richmond will be showing off all its "green" spirit on Tuesday, March 17.

New Richmond's more than 30-year tradition of hosting a St. Patrick's Day Parade continues at 4 p.m. March 17 in front of McCabe's Shamrock Club, 123 W. Third St.

The parade will follow the same route as last year.

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.

Traffic will be blocked off on Third Street. Parking won't be allowed on First Street or the west side of Knowles Avenue during the parade.

"The route worked well last year," said Bill Driscoll, one of the three organizers. "We had an excellent parade."

After moving the parade to March 16 because of a scheduling conflict for the bagpipers and unicyclists last year, the parade has been set to its traditional St. Patrick's Day date. Last year was the only year the New Richmond parade wasn't on March 17, said Driscoll.

"We like to have it on St. Patrick's Day," Driscoll explained the switch back to tradition.

This year's parade is expected to last between 45 minutes and an hour.

Usually there are 50-60 entries with approximately 500 people walking or riding along, Driscoll said. Thousands of people line the streets to see the parade.

"Weather permitting, you just don't know who will show up," Driscoll said.

The trio of parade planners starts working on entries a year prior to the parade.

"It's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun," he explained.

Included in the line-up will be 30-40 unicyclists from the Twin Cities, Driscoll said. Seats of the unicycles range from three to 20 feet off the ground.

Bagpipers from St. Paul will walk the streets to set the festive tone, while a stilt walker from Roberts will add to the parade atmosphere. "St. Patrick" will be walking the route with his staff.

Local Irish family clans band together to create floats, as others strut their own, non-descendant stuff alongside them.

"We have quite a variety of animals," Driscoll added. Among the herd are llamas, dogs, goats and horses. Most, of course, wear a wee bit of green through the parade.

Although Irish cloggers won't be making the trip to New Richmond, Driscoll said you never know who will do a jig.

Driscoll cautioned that the parade isn't the typical drunken Irishmen St. Patrick's Day parade.

"It's well controlled," he said. "The police keep a watch over things."

Grand marshals this year are the Earley descendants, sisters Kathy Cody, Mary Olson and Pat Holbrook.

The women were appointed by Ruth McCabe, their aunt and another one of the people 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.

Celebrations continue throughout various establishments. A cash drawing will be held at McCabe's Shamrock Club, along with a band. To enter the drawing for a chance to win $25, $50 or $75, pick up a button at local businesses.

Fingers are crossed for good weather next week, but the parade will go on no matter what.

"Rain or snow or sun or wind, nothing stops the Irishmen," Driscoll said.