- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 14, 2004

Yesterday’s brisk winds and 42-degree temperatures had many of the thousands of viewers huddled along the route of the District’s 33rd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade. But not the majorettes of Ballou High School’s marching band.

The majorettes were one of several groups in the parade prancing and dancing with bare legs along the 10-block route, including the Irish marchers who wore their traditional plaid kilts for the trip down Constitution Avenue and past the White House Eclipse.

There were scores of other dancers, who also seemed to be warm enough, doing the Irish jig and a variety of Irish reels, knocking their hard heels in rhythm on the concrete street.

“It’s a great day. It’s warmer,” declared Master of Ceremonies Michael Judge, who was announcing the passing parade for the seventh straight year. Mr. Judge, who was born in Washington 43 years ago, said that he is a full-blooded Irishman and that his grandfather, Joe Judge, was first baseman for the Senators professional baseball team during the 1920s.

The parade was a warm-up to St. Patrick’s Day on Wednesday for Peter McCarroll, 50, of Silver Spring. He’s leaving soon for New York City to watch the annual parade there, which he praised.

“I come to the parade every year,” said Mr. McCarroll, who stood yesterday with his back against a tree, his arms around Dawn O’Brien, 46, of Alexandria, as they watched the 2-hour procession.

Numerous other watchers wore small green shamrocks on top of 6-inch spring wires on their heads, like horns.

Preschool children especially enjoyed the leashed Irish terriers and wolfhounds, which the owners brought to the sidelines for petting. “I like dogs,” said Matthew Tobin, 5, of Silver Spring, as he returned to his mother’s side after petting a wolfhound as big as he is.

There were horses, too, most of them under Park Police saddles. Horses for the Rock Creek Park Saddle Gals and Guys had green ribbons tied in their tails and manes and green ribbons strapped to their hooves.

Cleaning crews, carrying scoop shovels, walked behind, doing a duty praised by Mr. Judge.

“It would not be a sanitary event without you guys. You are the true heroes of this parade,” Mr. Judge said, jokingly.

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