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San Francisco St. Patrick’s Day Parade, Festival Attracts Big Crowds

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St. Patrick Day Parade Onlookers

Hundreds braved chilly temps and the threat of rain to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the parade in downtown San Francisco (CBS)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Crowds gathered along San Francisco’s Market Street and in Civic Center Plaza Saturday morning to catch the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and festival.

This year’s celebration, entitled “Irish San Francisco Past, Present and Future” drew hundreds of onlookers, including many families and children who braved chilly temperatures and the threat of rain to watch the parade.

The festival began at 11 a.m. in Civic Center Plaza and featured more than two dozen food and clothing vendors, carnival rides and a stage where Irish musicians and dancers entertained attendees.

The holiday parade kicked off at 11:30 a.m. at Market and Second streets.

KCBS’ Mark Seelig Reports:

By 12 p.m., the parade procession had made its way to the Civic Center, led by a band of bagpipers and followed by several local Irish cultural groups, Mayor Ed Lee and more than 100 San Francisco police officers, some of whom brought their children.

Onlookers greeted the parade with applause and cheers as the procession wrapped around Civic Center Plaza and continued down Polk Street in front of City Hall, where the parade wrapped up around 12:15 p.m.

Most celebrants at Saturday morning’s festivities wore green, and many wore beaded necklaces, hats, tutus and feather boas in shades of the signature Irish color.

Los Gatos resident Mary Ann Fasano was decked out in an all-emerald outfit that included a green wig, green glasses, green lipstick and a homemade necklace strung with potatoes.

The Chicago native said she would “have to wait and see” how San Francisco’s St. Patrick’s Day celebration stacked up to that of her hometown, where the river is dyed green, she said.

“We know the parade goes on every year, and we really wanted to be a part of it this year because the parade is actually on St. Patrick’s Day,” said Fasano’s daughter, Kiley Fasano, 26, who wore a green ten-gallon hat, a shamrock necklace and plaid vest.

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