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McCabe honored as grand marshal

Ruth McCabe, center, has been named this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade grand marshal. McCabe, who began the parade in 1977, was appointed by her daughter, Maribeth Driscoll, and son-in-law, Bill Driscoll.

The tables have turned on Ruth McCabe.

The woman once responsible for selecting the St. Patrick's Day Parade grand marshal has been dubbed the grand marshal herself -- much to her dismay.

McCabe started the parade in 1977 after years of traveling to St. Paul, Minn. for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade there.

"We saw so many New Richmond families over there that we wondered why we didn't have anything in town," she said.

McCabe, a life-long New Richmond resident, said the parade began with just a few families walking the streets of New Richmond.

The parade has since evolved into the largest in New Richmond with many families, bands, animals, St. Mary's School and retailers participating in the festivities.

"We've got a good parade," said Bill Driscoll, McCabe's son-in-law. "I always say when the mouth of the dragon catches the end, that's a good parade."

McCabe said that while she prefers to be a spectator, chatting with friends and watching the floats, she'll enjoy riding in the horse-drawn carriage with her daughter and great-grandson, Malachy.

"It's been fun over the years picking the grand marshal but it was time for the community to honor her," said Maribeth Driscoll, McCabe's daughter.

McCabe spends weeks on the phone recruiting and promoting the parade, she said.

"I talk to all the horsemen, trying to get them out here. They love to show off their horses," she said.

The family-oriented event does a lot for the town, said Bill.

"This doesn't just bring people to the bars," he said. "This is good for all the merchants in town."

McCabe and the Driscolls are hoping for a turnout like last year's event, they said.

"It's really going to depend on the weather," Maribeth said. "If it rains, that's the one factor that could keep people away."

The parade is slated for 2 p.m. Sunday, March 17. The bag pipers and stilt walkers will make an appearance along with all the regular family floats and animals.