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Article posted: 3/17/2013 5:42 AM

A cold but fun St. Patrick's parade in St. Charles

By Elena Ferrarin

"Gangnam Style" and "Disco Inferno" aren't your typical St. Patrick's Day parade songs.

But spectators at the annual parade along Main Street in St. Charles Saturday cheered loudly when the St. Charles East High School's marching band finished its rendition of the 1970s hit by The Trammps.

Almost just as many cheers came for a young spectator who broke into a perfect rendition of the "Gangnam Style" horse-like dance when the song blasted from one of the vehicles in the parade.

"I like it because it's a dancing song. I learned it from my sister," said 7-year-old Nina, of St. Charles, who came to the parade with her mother Laura Fugitt.

As befitting an Irish parade, there were bagpipes, kilts and plenty of Irish music. And of course, both humans and canines wore all manners of green clothing. For those who forgot to wear the obligatory color, there were free green T-shirts from the parade's sponsors.

Greg Swedberg of St. Charles, said this year's 32-degree temperature was a different experience than last year's unseasonably warm 80 degrees.

"I have my coffee mug, so it's fine," he said. "It's a little bit more like spring weather than last year, maybe a little cool."

His dog Nike, a 5-year-old greyhound, sported a green hat and green bandanna, plus a fleece coat to stay warm.

Tommy and Shari Piazza, both born and raised in St. Charles, said the parade is an annual tradition. This year, they came with their 2-year-old daughter Stella, who cozily snuggled in her pink folding chair along Main Street.

"It's part of being from St. Charles," Shari Piazza said. "Later, we're going to have corned beef and cabbage at The Beehive (Tavern & Grille in St. Charles)."

The parade's grand marshal was Rosie Martinez, an Irish immigrant who in 1998 helped establish McNally's Traditional Irish Pub in St. Charles. Martinez helped organize St. Charles' first St. Patrick's Day parade in 2000.

Besides being fun, the parade is good for local businesses, said Megan Hernandez, owner of Eliza Jane boutique and spa on Main Street.

"It brings good business, it brings people downtown," Hernandez said. "I watch it all from the window."

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