EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

March 16, 2014

The Irish comeback

Past and present Lawrencians embrace the return of St. Patrick's Day parade

Leprechauns, Ghostbusters and Mickey Mouse, oh my! A cast of characters hit the streets of Lawrence for residents to celebrate the comeback of the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Parade watcherss could be seen wearing Celtics jerseys, bright green tutus and funky hats to show off their Irish pride.

After a three-year absence, the city of Lawrence celebrated the Irish holiday in style with the traditional parade.

“I’m so glad it’s back. This is one of my favorite traditions the city has and I think everyone missed it,” Elizabeth Madden said wearing a "Kiss me I’m Irish" shirt. “Events like this show off the positive aspects within the community,” she said.

The 50-year-old from Lawrence said it felt like a “rebirth” for a city.

“I think with Rivera now as our mayor, people feel like change is coming to our city and it’s a good change. It’s a rebirth for us. Events like this shows off the pride people have in this city. Good things happen here too. People need to know that.”

Mayor Daniel Rivera took part of the parade festivities while sporting a dapper green tie and matching gloves. He was joined by U.S. Rep. Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell; state Rep. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen; state Sen. Barry Finegold, D-Andover; city councilors and several other municipal officials.

Parade organizers raised $30,000 to fund the “family-friendly” parade yesterday. The parade theme was “Cead Mile Failte,” which in Gaelic means "100,000 welcomes."

About 80 groups and floats participated in the parade. They included local police and firefighters, bagpipers, Irish dancers, politicians, school groups, Scouts and neighborhood associations. Local bands Grove Alliance and Prospect Hill performed during the parade. Central Catholic's Division 1 state championship team also joined the team.

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