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Close to 80,000 gather for St. Patrick's Day parade

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Between 70,000 and 80,000 people gathered in downtown Buffalo for the official St. Patrick's Day parade on Sunday afternoon. 

As a sea of green covered Delaware Avenue, Buffalo police made only a handful of arrests, most for disorderly conduct. Police also issued 40 summons for violation of the open container law. 

"I'm very excited," said Grand Marshall Jennifer Letina. "The sun is out. It looks great and I hope everyone has a great time."

In the parade, Letina was followed by a crowd of relatives and even more in a horse-drawn wagon supplied by her employers at Ellicott Development.

As it tradition, there were many politicians in the march including Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul, Rep. Brian Higgins, Sen. Tim Kennedy and Mayor Byron Brown. There were also the signs of the Irish Diaspora with the Emerald Hook and Ladder Truck and Doyle Hose and multiple views of Saint Patrick himself.

Karen O'Leary had young Sydney Baily along for her first parade.

"[She's a] true Irishman. I've been here for years. This is her first parade. This is my 45th," said O'Leary.

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Credit Mike Desmond/wbfo news
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A crisp, sunny day brought thousands to Delaware Avenue to watch the Saint Patrick's Parade.

Businesses like Tim Hortons had shut business down until the parade was over. The coffee and bake shop at Delaware and Allen said it was protecting its property and staff from rowdy parade-goers. Also closed was the Chippewa and Delaware Avenue location of Starbucks. Spot Coffee, which is located across the street, remained open with increased staff and hired security.

An unusual part of the parade crowd was a small group carrying religious signs, perhaps in response to the usual drinking and rowdiness associated with the Irish holiday.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.
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