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Oklahoma City turns green for annual St. Patrick's Day parade

St. Patrick's Day Parade organizers said as many as 20,000 people — either clad in green, or pink from pinches — lined Sheridan Avenue in downtown Oklahoma City on Saturday to watch the parade.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: March 16, 2013 at 8:01 pm •  Published: March 17, 2013

“It just opens spring. We've been hibernating all winter and it's time to get out now.”

Callan Cunningham, 4, pointed eagerly at the approaching pipers in the shadow of the Chesapeake Energy Arena while his parents watched from Oklahoma State University lawn chairs.

“Look what's coming, a whole parade!” Callan said while his parents laughed.

Callan's eyes got bigger when he spotted the group that followed — Scottish terriers dressed in green, their handlers tossing candy into the crowd.

“Yeah, baby!” he said.

But just down the block, Emma Holland, 3, was disappointed she didn't see her favorite “Patrick” — the starfish from SpongeBob SquarePants.

“I think the whole St. Patrick's Day thing might have gotten her distracted,” said Emma's mother, Amy Holland.

Jones said she and the other parade organizers will turn over the parade to the Bricktown Association next year, with the hopes it will continue to grow.

With as many as half a million Oklahomans claiming Irish descent, the parade is their chance for a little cultural awareness.

“I tell everybody that we claim almost every president all the way to the current one,” Jones said.

Wait ... the current one?

“Yep,” Jones said. “O'Bama.”