Alaska’s only St. Patrick’s Day parade was treated to a spring perfect day that Boston would have canceled a tea party for. In the 21 years of the parades history this March 17th was sunny and warmer than many past 4th of July and Progress Days parades. Founder and patron leprechaun of the parade Mike Sweeney couldn’t have been happier, “It was a perfect day for the parade and we were very thankful for the weather and the great turnout.
This all started when a bunch of businessmen wanted to have a parade to promote local shopping and celebrating so we became the only St. Patrick’s Day parade in Alaska so with the luck of the Irish and global warming, we stepped out ahead of the arctic curve,” said Sweeney.
Leading the parade and riding with the Colors were members of VFW Post # 100046 including post commander Mike Meredith, “We’re not marching this year we’re riding thanks to Mike Sweeney. This is a parade for everyone and we’re honored to be here,” said Meredith.
Three generations of the Tom and Sonja Redmond family of Soldotna were once again dressed in Irish regalia for the parade, “I think we’ve marched in about two less than Mike Sweeney, he’s the grandmaster of the parade and we watched for a couple of years then we decided we just had to join him. I’m full blooded Irish and like having fun but I can’t remember a day as nice as this one, this is really beautiful. I’m thinking of joining the Irish Alaskans for Global Warming,” laughed Redmond. Those in the parade this year included several equestrian entries from Solid Rock Bible Wilderness camp, Girl Scouts of the Kenai Peninsula and a large contingency of 1st graders from K-Beach Elementary headed up by Gloria Sweeney.