Today everyone is a little Irish in Five Points, site of the annual St. Patrick's Day Festival.
At a comfortable 64 degrees, the St. Patrick’s Day parade started off with a lot of enthusiasm this morning as crowds along Devine Street waved and cheered.
By noon, the sun was definitely out as the mercury had already climbed some 12 to 15 degrees. Off came the hoodies and jackets and out came the sunblock and hats as the 30th annual St. Patrick’s Day festival got underway.
But that’s OK, as many in the crowd said – the beer was flowing.
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“You guys do it right. You close down the whole area,” said Natalie Cruz, who, along with her mother, Darlene Iacovoni, watched the parade from the bottom of Devine Street. A first-time festivalgoer, Cruz was in town from Pittsburgh, Pa., visiting her parents and had even gotten up early to run the “Get to the Green 5K.”
Having been to her share of St. Patrick’s day festivities in Pittsburgh, Cruz was impressed by Columbia's turnout.
“And there’s something for everyone here,” she said. “This is really giving Pittsburgh a run for their money.”
Across the street, 2-year-old Sequoia Pierce got scooped up by a Chick-fil-A cow. The toddler seemed thrilled by his “cow hug” but ran back to join his father, Josh, his mother, Renee, and 4-year-old sister, Willow.
The festival is a regular tradition for the family.
“They make it very family friendly,” Josh Pierce said. “Especially in the morning. (That) tends to be more family-oriented.”
Pierce said the family usually walked from their home off Cambridge Lane near Five Points, but this year decided to drive and park near the children’s carnival at Martin Luther King Park, since they were walking in the race and would be hauling equipment.
So far the family had enjoyed the bounce house and the ferris wheel.
“It’s everything that you would normally find at the fair but everything is child-size,” he said. “It’s a great idea. Whoever put this together does a good job catering to not only adults but those with kids as well.”