If you wondered what all the noise was, Ketchikan celebrated St. Patrick’s Day yesterday.
Ketchikan’s first ever St. Patrick’s Day Parade marched down Mill Street starting at 2pm. With kilted bagpipers, a truck from the Ketchikan Fire Department and just about anyone wearing green, the self-proclaimed shortest parade in the world made its way from the Southeast Alaska Discovery Center to O’Brien’s Pub on Stedman Street.
The day was cold but the sun was out when the procession arrived at O’Briens to hear Bowi, a traditional Irish band from Seattle. The trio, featuring a guitar, mandolin and percussion, played both Celtic standards and a few country songs. At least a hundred people gathered at the lot in the former location of the appropriately-named Shamrock bar, drinking Guinness and breaking into the occasional mass jig to Irish classics like The Moonshiner.
But the day was not entirely devoted to singing and dancing. Reverend George Pasley from the Ketchikan Presbyterian Church appealed to the better nature of the Irish. He asked in a sermon to the crowd before the music started to remember the poor and hungry on St. Patrick’s Day.
“We thank you and we ask your blessings for those who struggle in our time with hunger and hardship,” Pasley said. “May each one persevere and prosper. We thank you for food, for the bounty of earth and sea, for corn beef and cabbage, for king salmon and huckleberries.”
For the record, the Guinness Book of World Records does not have a category for “Shortest Parade in the World”.