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A parade organizer estimated there were 20,000 to 25,000 spectators.


Published: Mon, March 13, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.


A parade organizer estimated there were 20,000 to 25,000 spectators.
By LAURE CIOFFI
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- There was nary a raindrop in the sky as the Irish faithful sported their green and celebrated the upcoming St. Patrick's Day.
Despite the warmer than usual weather, Stephanie Coleman and granddaughter, Rayna, 4, were bundled under a blanket waiting for the start of the parade Sunday afternoon.
"Say the word parade, and she says candy," Coleman, of Boardman, said of her granddaughter and referring to the candy tossed from parade floats.
For Tom "Pete" McBride and his wife, Jean, of Boardman, the parade proved to be a social event.
"You get to see everybody. It's our holiday," he said.
And there were plenty of people to see.
Joyce Kale-Pesta, parade chairman, estimates there were between 20,000 and 25,000 people lining the streets of Boardman for the three-hour parade.
"This is the best crowd we've had," Kale-Pesta said. She attributes the large crowd to the mild weather.
There were 170 parade entrants competing in 11 divisions.
There was a host of political candidates stretched throughout the parade as well as the usual fire and emergency vehicles, floats, clowns and various businesses and organizations.
Music and dance
Ursuline and Karns City high school bands entertained along with the bagpipers and dancers ranging from the Irish to the Mexican.
Green was the color of the day for just about everyone even dogs in tutus and hats that lined the parade route and walked it.
Darlene Kromer of Austintown was decked out in green clothes and green beaded necklaces. Her gray French poodle, Jean-Pierre, had his own shamrock handkerchief and necklace on too. She joked that the dog's name for the day was "John Patrick" in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
"We were going to leave him home, but he wouldn't get out from under the van," Kromer said. She and her brother, Mike Heinzer of Liberty Township, said they attend every year with numerous other relatives who then go to their uncle's home for corned beef and cabbage after the parade.
Corned beef and cabbage was also in line for Joanie Mitchell of Austintown and her clan of about 30. Decked out with fancy green hats and temporary shamrock tattoos on their faces, Mitchell, her sister Annette Novosel and assorted family members arrived early to get a spot near the grandstand.
"The kids love the candy. We like the step-dancers and bagpipers," Novosel said.
Bagpipe fans
Kathy Drombetta of Youngstown and Theresa Carr of Boardman were there for the bagpipers. The two women were holding a sign for their bagpipe instructor, Marilyn Lloyd of Warren, who was performing in the parade.
"We're a couple of over-the-hill bagpipers. We started taking lessons last year. We decided you are never too old to learn," said Drombetta, who turned 53 Saturday. "We're probably her oldest students."
Connor Patrick Wills, 10 months old, was among the youngest enjoying the parade, waving and laughing at the firetrucks. His older sister, Maddie, 3, was collecting candy from the pavement.
"The entire community comes out to celebrate being Irish," said their father, Chris Wills of Canfield.
As Kandi Simkins of New Middletown put it, "There's a little bit of Irish in all of us."
cioffi@vindy.com


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