March 14, 2009 — A tidal wave of green flooded up one side of Christiansted and washed back down the other Saturday as St. Croix residents celebrated St. Patrick's Day as only Crucians can.
Sure there are bigger St. Patrick's Day celebrations in the world, more famous parades, more traditionally Irish observations of the holiday. But nowhere in the world is there a more frothy mix of Irish spirits and Caribbean excitement than that of the 28 parade entrants and the thousands of people that lined the streets — and spilled out onto them enthusiastically — in Christiansted.
"Whoooo!" said a young woman who gave her name as Jean, or maybe Jeanne, since she didn't spell it. When asked if she could be quoted, she replied, "Whoooo!"
It was a parade as eclectic as the crowd that gathered to watch it. Central High School's ROTC drum corps marched with precision down the street, followed by a little girl riding a St. Bernard. A team of cute-as-a-button little majorettes pranced down the street, pursued by a Corvette with a picture of the president of the United States on the hood. A breast cancer awareness float bore the legend, "Save the Ta-Tas," and the adherents of a popular Greek restaurant wore flowing, bright-green chiffon togas. There were pirates and ponies and motorcycles — a little something for everybody.
The largest crowd gathered behind the "Feral Cruzan" float, which featured the live music of Kurt Schindler. But the three children on the donkey also got plenty of applause from the crowd.
The Crucian St. Patrick's Day Parade began 40 years ago with an impromptu tramp behind a flatbed truck topped with revelers and a piano. It has grown into an island tradition.
This year's parade winners, as voted upon by the august panel of judges, were:
— Best Overall: "Pickled Greek"
— Best Youth Group: Central and Educational Complex High Schools Combined Band
— Best Individual or Couple: The Kids in the Wagon
— Best Nonhuman:The St. Bernard carrying a kid on its back
— Best Float: "Pickled Greek"
— Best Group: "Feral Cruzan"
— Most Unique on Wheels: Paradise Radio
— Most Original: "Save The Ta-Tas"
— Most Unique: "Pickled Greek"
Ed. note: In the interest of full disclosure, the reporter of this story and his wife were two of the nine parade judges. The reporter noted that the best seats in the house, a full cooler, and the occasional attempt to bribe the judges with cheap beads and alcohol made the event memorable.
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