Revelers with fondness for anything Irish start to mark St Patrick's Day
NEW YORK (AP) - Crowds cheered and bagpipes bellowed as New York City's annual St Patrick's Day parade kicked off on Saturday, and people with a fondness for anything Irish began a weekend of festivities from the Louisiana bayou to Dublin's Parnell Square.
With the holiday itself falling on a Sunday, many celebrations were scheduled instead for Saturday because of religious observances. In New York, the massive parade, which predates the United States, was led by 750 members of the New York Army National Guard. The 1st Battalion of the 69th Infantry has been marching in the parade since 1851.
Other participants this year include Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.
Chicago was preparing for its own big parade and an eye-catching local custom: dyeing the Chicago River green. Dublin's five-day St Patrick's Day festival was unfolding with a new addition. For the first time, up to 8,000 visitors from around the world were due to march in a so-called people's parade on Sunday, when Ireland's capital city also intends hold its usual procession of bands and pageantry.