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Post details: St Patrick's Day in Chicago

St Patrick's Day in Chicago

Chicago pampers its Irish enclave.

Scores of St Patrick's proteges parading down Columbus Avenue would know a thing or two about it. And they return the fondness with a ravishing array of wall-to-wall irishness: bandwagons bedecked with shamrock, cows on wheels and a monster shopping cart, fire trucks from times when stamps were a dime, cuddly little leprechauns scampering along, king on a white horse and his men flying their royal capes like cheeky banners, chipper ex patriots tossing their hats and beads and garlands around, marching bands puffing with bagpipes, girls with curls tapping their jig shoes on the pavement littered with green frills, tipsy lads in fake miters stomping onward, weightless floats on the go... The parade seems endless.

As luck would have it, on the day of this parade I ended up in Chicago with a colleague of mine. The morning sky looked a bit sullen, almost as if God had just done some serious dish washing, but by noon the Cloud Master and his band of chimney sweepers did their gig and the rest of the day was served on a blue platter. The parade was so captivating that we decided to exploit a poorly guarded intersection and joined in. For a few minutes we turned Irish and it felt as if we stepped into another dimension. Needless to say - one with much greener pastures. All of a sudden we were part of the river flowing down Columbus Avenue.

And speaking of rivers: it turns out that the proliferation of green in Chicago is not restricted to the Land. The city dyes its river too! On our way to the parade, we were dazzled by its Technicolor richness - a giant waterlilly pad painted by a jolly Dali. I don't know what Celtic magic they cast over its waters, but it looked supernaturally green.

chi

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