Monday, March 13, 2006

St. Patrick's Parade



On the weekend before St. Patrick's Day in San Francisco...



...there is an annual parade that winds up Market Street from the Financial District to Civic Center...



...and the day is invariably wet, windy and cold.



On the few days over the years that it has been sunny and warm, the sunburns on all that beautiful, pale white skin have not been a pretty sight, so the bad weather is probably for the best.



Usually, these parades are way overpoliced but early this afternoon that didn't seem to be the case...



...and the reason turned out to be that a huge contingent of San Francisco's police force...



...was marching in the parade itself...



...many with their children literally in tow.



The Asian guy above, by the way, is actually San Francisco Police Chief Heather Fong.



Another formidable contingent consisted of San Francisco firefighters...



...who were throwing strings of green beads to the crowd...



...in a parade gesture straight out of New Orleans' Mardi Gras.



One firefighter broke ranks and made sure this little girl got some beads of her very own.



If you were no good at catching beads, you could always buy some...



...at one of the many vendor's tents set up in the Civic Center Plaza.



This vendor from "The Irish Castle" on Geary Boulevard was already drinking beer "just to keep myself warm."



Irish-American stereotypes about drinking didn't seem to offend anyone, as you can see by this Big Yellow Taxi with signage reading "A Drinking Fellow Calls a Yellow."



It's actually a very inclusive parade.



This marching band from San Mateo, for instance...



...didn't seem to have very many Irish-Americans involved...



...but everyone was cheering for them nonetheless.



I didn't stay for long, because the cold and wet turned into a virtual monsoon...



...and just looking at some of the outfits on the marchers was enough to give me pneumonia.

4 comments:

janinsanfran said...

Great pictures! Congrats to you for venturing out in that weather.

Anonymous said...

The SF St Patrick's is the greatest. Lots of people put lots of work into it. I have pics of the early 80's parade, etc. I lived in metro NYC and saw three of their Patrick's Parades, which are bland, stale and rigid compared to SF's. SF's has lots of "life and fun." GREAT shots...

Spots said...

Why is the chick selling green beads drinking Corona? Some pride.

And it appears that god had deemed all firefighters to be appallingly hot. Ding DONG...

sfwillie said...

Is that Warren Beatty sp? driving the Rose of Tralee car (fourth pic down)? He looks great!