Parades celebrating the Irish have a long history in Knoxville, but were interrupted for many years, until 2017 saw the resurrection of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. I must have missed that year, but here’s a look at 2018 and 2019. After a three year run, there was a three year absence. In 2020 there was an illness going around and in 2021, it hung around in a large way.
2022 looked to be the return of the green, but no. A freak snow event stepped in to waste all that green beer. A lesser crowd would have folded the flags, poured out the beer, and gone home. But not the Irish. Sure three years on followed by three years off is tough, but have you heard of that little potato incident from a few years back? These are tough customers and parade we would have!
Cue the bagpipes and the whole thing worked its way most of the length of Gay Street. It hit a sweet spot on Friday night: just a bit after the rain, and just a bit ahead of the cold temperatures that hustled in over night. It was chilly, maybe a bit damp, but nothing that a few libations couldn’t overcome. There was warmth aplenty in the crowd. And the crowds were good. As I said in a previous article, perhaps not Christmas or Pride level, but solid and fun.
And they were bedecked and bejeweled in the green. There were kilts and tartan sashes. Green hats and Irish flags floated atop the crowds. Four leaf clovers decorated some of the flags. Green four-leaf clover necklaces were handed out to the crowds.
As noted before, the floats indeed show some effort, which is encouraging to someone who grew up with Mardi Gras parades. Lots of cute children joined in the fun and the bagpipes let everyone know exactly which parade was passing by. Security was tight as you can see from the photo just above this one. Tough ones, that lot. If you look below this a bit, you’ll see that a former president joined the parade to a smattering of boos mixed with cheering.
I’ve got the remainder of the photos below. Until the next time we all celebrate our Irish-hood (or pretend to do so):
May good luck be with you Wherever you go, and your blessings outnumber the shamrocks that grow. May your days be many and your troubles be few, May all God’s blessings descend upon you, May peace be within you, May your heart be strong, May you find what you’re seeking wherever you roam.