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Sham-rocking and rolling: Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade returns

The weather was cold and crowds were smaller for the return of the St. Patrick's Day Grand Parade, but parade-goers still found plenty to celebrate.

DAVENPORT, Iowa — St. Patrick's Day celebrations are in full swing in the Quad Cities, some for the first time in two years.

Hundreds of people lined the streets, decked head to toe in green, for the return of the Quad Cities Grand Parade XXXVI.

The St. Patrick Society's bi-state parade kicked things off in Rock Island Saturday morning and wrapped up in Davenport.

Temperatures were on the colder side and parade-goers did notice smaller crowds this year, but were still happy to be back out and celebrating, even if they're not Irish.

Erin Erickson came to the parade with her five and six-year-olds. She's been to the parade many times, but it was her kids' first times.

"This is their first time and just their luck it happens to be super cold," Erickson said. "It's my favorite holiday and I'm trying to pass it down to them."

St. Patrick's Day is her reminder that spring is just around the corner, she added.

Other first time parade-goers were St. Ambrose freshmen Nehemiah Miller and Jack Jennings.

"Back home (in Ohio), we actually don't do that much (for St. Patrick's Day)," Miller said. "But here in the Quad Cities, it's awesome. They make a huge deal out of it. I love it."

"I've liked watching people do the Irish jig dances," Jennings said. "Those are pretty entertaining to watch."

Meanwhile, the parade is a tradition for Loree Hansen and her friends. She said it started 30 years ago when she and her one friend rode in a float, but after realizing it was too cold, they decided to just watch the next year.

"So we started out, just the two of us on a corner, with a little cooler," Hansen said. "And it's turned into over 30 years of festivities."

Each year, they do a special "drink of the year" and set up a table of food to also help feed the homeless.

"We want to make sure that as people are coming and going downtown on this day, I feel like we always see community that needs assistance with hunger, and so we try to package some of our food ready to go for them, whether it's a bottle of water, a hotdog to go," Hansen said.

March is also her birthday month so she considers the parade to be a giant birthday party for herself.

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