Saint Patrick's Day is a time when many college students choose to fill their bellies with firewater instead of their heads with culture. The patron saint of Ireland is in no way associated with drinking, but the culture surrounding his celebration is forever connected with green beer and Irish car bombs.
So it's no surprise that the longest-running event in Fort Collins is a parade in Saint Patty's honor. Peggy Lyle, event coordinator for the Downtown Business Association (DBA), said the DBA has put on the parade for 23 years but they have evidence of it being run much longer.
"We have pictures of it running since the 1920s, we know it's the longest running event in Fort Collins," Lyle said.
Lyle said that although records are not entirely accurate before then, the parade is definitely a tradition.
This year's parade will be held at 10 a.m. on March 11. The floats and other festivities begin at Walnut Street and the parade will make its way to downtown on College Avenue.
Floats in the parade are submitted by diverse sections of the community.
"Everyone from people who own their own business, to people that belong to a dog club to people that just want to come out and be part of a parade," Lyle said. "We don't always get a lot of official floats from CSU students but we are proud to admit that this year's Grand Marshall will be Cam."
The CSU mascot leading the procession will be followed by the Fort Collins Pipe Band, the Mcteggart Irish dancers and a multiplicity of floats.
Floats will be judged in a number of categories. Themes include animal, bar and restaurant, creative, humor, music and of course, Irish. An overall winner will also be crowned, as well as second place in each category.
The DBA is expecting 4,000 to 5,000 people to show their Irish spirit Saturday, depending on the weather "but we will be there rain or shine," Lyle said.