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Adrian is going green again

ADRIAN -- New York City has a famous, sizeable St. Patrick's Day parade, and so does Chicago, Ill. In fact, the "Windy City" even dyes the Chicago River green for the special occasion.

There's no river running through Adrian, but it's probably safe to say that many community residents would want to dye one, too, each March 17. That's because Adrian has carried on its own St. Patrick's Day tradition for many years.

"I've been here for 25 years, and I know it (celebration) had been going on before that," said Barb Strassburg, who is responsible for coordinating Adrian's annual parade. The route may be short -- three blocks along Maine Avenue -- but the event is eagerly awaited each and every year.

"The parade can have anything, and we have prizes," Strassburg stated. "We have a prize for the largest clan -- that would be the largest group -- and best float, best children's costume and the oldest participant."

Strassburg noted that families such as the Metzes ("they always have the largest clan; they have a big following around year"), McCarthys, Coxes, Egans and Vorthermses help Adrian take pride in its Irish heritage.

"There are always a lot of people at the parade, and there's usually a big gathering afterward," Strassburg said. "You usually have to stop in the bar for green beer -- that's kind of tradition."

Ah, green beer on a St. Patrick's Day (and, this year, a Friday) evening. Sounds like something a man named McGaughey -- and plenty of others, to be sure -- can enjoy. The Adrian parade begins at 5:30 p.m.

Adrian, incidentally, isn't alone in -- as the saying goes -- getting its Irish up. The City of Pipestone will have its 12th annual St. Patrick's Day parade starting at 4 p.m. Friday.

Linda Erickson, who coordinates the Pipestone parade, said she's been doing so for about four years. Bill and Bunny Johnson originated the event, she added.

"We have a lot of very wonderful stand-bys that participate every year and we have some new ones all the time," Erickson said. "People still come out to be a part of the parade and people still come to watch the parade, no matter how the weather is."

St. Patrick's Day actually begins a day earlier in Pipestone, as all are invited to assist in the painting of the traditional shamrock at the intersection of Hiawatha and Main at 4 p.m. Thursday.

Following Friday's parade, the Calumet Inn is set to serve an Irish dinner with entertainment that features the Callahan-O'Johnson dancers. Corned beef and cabbage will also be served at the American Legion Hall from 5 to 7:30 p.m.

"We invite everyone to come on down -- it's very festive here and a lot of fun," Erickson said. "Like the woman who started this, Bunny Johnson, has always said. 'Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day.'"

Ryan McGaughey

I first joined the Daily Globe in April 2001 as sports editor. I later became the news editor in November 2002, and the managing editor in August 2006. I'm originally from New York State, and am married with two children.

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