When Paula Jones started organizing the St. Patrick's Day parade 27 years ago, there were only about 20 entries and a couple dozen observers.
On Saturday, Jones — now the parade's director — wrapped up her final year of participating in the event with a smile of satisfaction.
More than 80 entries of dancers, pipers, beauty queens and decorated animals of all kinds filtered through downtown Oklahoma City and Bricktown, while about 20,000 people watched and clapped from the sidewalks.
Jones attributed the parade's growth to hard work and a little Irish luck.
“Ten or 12 people sit in my living room and plan it, and it's gotten so big, but nobody knows about it because we don't have any money to advertise.”
With the temperature at roughly 80 degrees, Saturday was likely the warmest day of the year so far.
A green clown — too tall to be a leprechaun — tricked children with a pot of gold attached to an elastic string. Local law enforcement and firefighters frequently blared their sirens. The deafening drone of bagpipes halted conversation as the sound bounced off Devon Tower and echoed down the street.
Bob Lambert and his wife, Irene, watched from their spot across the street from the tower. Their two dogs, Sprite and Moxie, were wearing green bow ties around their necks.
“It's a good mixture of the religious aspect of it, and it brings the community together,” Bob Lambert said.