Michigan City makes St. Patrick’s day a family event with its annual parade. On March 12th 2016 neighbors from all around the region gathered on Franklin St. to celebrate a holiday of merriment and religion. Floats made from several organizations dazzled the crowd with their creativity, musical talent, and soaring candy.
The Washington Park Zoo was parade marshal this year. They led the floats through the crowd after a procession of service vehicles and the food drive van. Deborah Henchel, the Zoo’s director, brought an owl named Stella and Uno the goat to highlight their educational program. This is the 5th year the zoo has been part of the parade.
“It’s a great event,” Henchel said. “We love to share the animals and the zoo. It’s a great place where you can connect with nature. The parade lets you have that social connection.”
This is not the first time for most people at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. It is a tradition that stretches back for years. For spectator Erin Foust, it is her 4th year attending with her friend Jennifer Solner.
Solner said, “This parade is awesome and everyone should come. It’s Christmas in March. It’s about the community coming together to support local business.”
For La Porte County Recorder Candidate and Parade Coordinator Johnny Stimley, the parade represents heritage. Not only is it a celebration of St. Patrick, but it is also the 100th anniversary of Ireland’s Independence from Great Britain.
“[The Parade] brings people out,” said Stimley. “Families work together to build floats. Whenever you have a parade there is a special feeling, an excitement.”
Each float exemplified the passion and artistic talent of the people of La Porte County. Three of them won awards, which Stimley handed out as they entered the route. The Safe Harbor float won Best Green, The funniest float went to the Clown troupe, and the Most Authentic award was given to American Greyhound.
At the 2016 St. Patrick’s Day parade a couple got engaged. Several political figures met with their public. Horses got to show off their stride. Amidst the festivities and the epic bagpipes, there was community.