SCITUATE — Revelers, many wrapped in blankets, lined the 2.3-mile St. Patrick’s Day parade route here this afternoon, sporting festive hats and strings of green beads tossed out by marchers. Children shrieked and ran back and forth across the street collecting candies tossed from floats and marchers; Silly String covered the pavement.
“I usually go to Southie,” said Kevin Cullity, 41, of Pembroke, as he sipped Dogfish Head IPA from a red Solo cup.
This is his first year at the Scituate gala, he said, but it won’t be his last — 10 years of Southie-style celebration was enough. The Scituate parade is wonderful, he said: not too crowded, not too rowdy.
“I don’t want to deal with Southie,” he said.
Parade chairman Ed Kelley said he thought this year’s parade had drawn between 15,000 and 20,000 people. Vendors selling balloons and pretzels hawked their wares up and down the streets, and the air was filled with the sounds of bagpipes and traditional Irish music.
Victoria and Scott Burgess, transplants from Boston, said that this year was their third Scituate parade. Growing up, they said, they went to the Southie parade – but the lower-key festivities in Scituate work better for their 7-year-old twins.
“It’s always a good parade. It’s really family oriented, our kids can have a good time. It’s safe,” said Victoria.
Some Scituate natives said they would never consider going to the Southie parade – and anyways, Scituate, they said, has more Irish in it.
The town’s nickname, after all, is the Irish Riviera.
“It’s the most Irish town in Massachusetts!” said Cindy Hazen, 56, as she sat in the open hatchback of a minivan surrounded by her eight grandchildren.
Hazen has lived in Scituate her whole life, and used to drive a school bus filled with puppies in the parade. There is no contest between Southie and Scituate, she said – the Scituate event is the authentic Irish parade.
“This is where all the Irish settled before they came to Boston,” she said. “Around here, everybody is friendly.”Evan Allen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.