Mar 092005
Authors: Amy Hochevar

To Find out More:

Downtown Business Association of Fort Collins

(970) 484-6500


Conor O'Neills



All over the world people celebrate St. Patrick's Day.

Fort Collins offers a couple unique ways to celebrate this joyous day.

The Downtown Business Association of Fort Collins has a parade every year honoring the patron saint of Ireland. This year's parade will be held Saturday, is free for all and is a great way to celebrate the day.

The parade has been going on for just less than 20 years, said Peggy Lyle, business association event coordinator.

Lucky Joe's Sidewalk Saloon always supports the continuing success of downtown Fort Collins. They have been the title sponsor of the parade for nine years now.

Joe Vader, co-owner of Lucky Joe's, likes to remind the people just how special downtown Fort Collins is.

"It is the gem of Fort Collins," Vader said.

The parade has businesses, nonprofit organizations, political groups, performers and a lot of green every year. The McTeggart Dancers will also be there, dressed in elaborate costumes.

"They are wonderful dancers," Lyle said. "They always put on a great show."

The parade's best entries will be judged. The judges will award a first- and second-place winner for the following categories: Animal, Bar & Restaurant, Creative, Irish, Humorous, Musical and Overall Winner.

"A little bit of everything comes out," Lyle said. "We are always surprised to see who is in the parade."

Lucky Joe's will have its own float in the parade and Vader's partner will be dressed up as a leprechaun, while riding a unicycle.

"When we came here, the city gave us so much," Vader said. "I'm just so happy to be able to give something back."

The day starts off with the Sharin' O' the Green 5K race. The race will start at 8:30 a.m. and benefits Partners of Larimer County. To enter the race, register at

The parade will begin at 10 a.m. and end around noon. It will start on Walnut Street, go down College Avenue and then back downtown.

The business association will be accepting applications through Friday for people who want to be in the parade.

Every year there are dogs and other animals that walk in the parade as well. In the past there have been basset hounds, greyhounds, horses and llamas in the parade.

"It brings excitement to the parade," Lyle said.

Conor O'Neill's will have its own float in the parade as well. This is the first year that Conor O'Neill's will be in the parade.

"It's fantastic to be a part (of the parade)," said Suzanne Emmett, general manager of Conor O'Neills.

This year Conor O'Neill's will be hosting a new event, St. Paddy's Shamrock and Shenanigans Irish Festival, which will take place after the parade from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. outside of Conor O'Neill's on Linden Street.

Along with pipe bands and fiddle players, the festival will include the following: keg rolling, tug of war, cabbage-head bowling, tossing bails of hay and the McTeggart Dancers. Conor O'Neill's will also be giving away prizes for the games; among the prizes is a green iPod, Emmett said.

Aside from the pub and restaurant's regular Irish brews, there will be a new beer it will be brewing this year especially for this day. The beer is called Craic, which means fun in Irish.

There will be a Guinness promotion pre-party from 10 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Emmett said the whole festival is a pre-party for St. Patrick's Day.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of only two parades that Fort Collins has each year. The other parade is the Homecoming Parade.

"We usually have great weather," Lyle said. "We want as many people to come down and enjoy the parade."

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