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St. Patrick's Day Parade returns on frigid March afternoon

Posted at 5:13 PM, Mar 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-12 19:30:29-05

The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade made it’s return to Milwaukee after a two-year hiatus amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, the main concern was not the transmission of the coronavirus. It was the weather.

"This is one of the coldest ones I've ever worked," said Patty, who's been volunteering with the parade for decades.

She drives what could be described as the parade's hype car. It's a golf cart that cruises ahead of all of the parade entries. From the passenger seat, Patty's friend, Trish, tried to pump up the crowd through a loudspeaker.

“The parades coming, let’s make some noise!" Trish yelled many times.

Along Wisconsin Avenue and other parts of the route, there were shadowy, empty half and full blocks where the sun didn't shine.

Few, if any, wanted to sit in the shade, not on a day when the temperature was about 16 degrees at the start of the parade.

Still, many came out despite the cold.

“Feels awesome. We’re back in business. It’s lively on the streets here," said Seth, who'd been drinking mimomas with his friends all morning.

“It’s nice to have. [The parade is] almost bringing us back to the way Milwaukee used to be,” said Brandon Culpepper, who watched the parade with his son.

Kids who tested the freezing temperatures were rewarded with candy.

Arti McBride, a toddler, said he planned to get 1,000 pieces of candy during the parade.

Saturday also marked a return for another beloved Milwaukee tradition.

The Dancing Grannies performed for the first time in Milwaukee since three members of their troupe and a volunteer were killed during the Waukesha Christmas Parade.

Before the parade, the dancers met at the Hilton downtown.

"I’m excited. I’m nervous. I’m a little under the weather, but I’m here, and I’m happy," said Betty Streng, who was injured during the parade.

"I think the city of Milwaukee has got our back," said Kathi Schmeling, when asked if she had any concerns about the troupe performing again. "I think they put up every precaution that they can."

Before leaving the hotel to line up for the parade, the Grannies toasted their fallen: Tamara Durand, LeAnna Owen, Virginia Sorenson and Wilhelm Hospel, a volunteer and husband of one of the members.

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