"Iiiiiiiii Love a Parade..."

I am a sucker for a parade.  I can't help it.  I think it goes back to my childhood and all of the missed Pegasus Parades that I so desperately wanted to attend but never got to.  It is also a bit of a surprise to me because I generally loathe crowds of drunk folks.  But something about a parade makes the throngs of inebriated people OK and somewhat like certain extended family members- the ones that you really don't care for but can stand to be around for a few hours twice a year.

We have one giant, full blown, real deal parade a year (Pegasus Parade) at Derby time and then we have these great neighborhood parades for Easter, Halloween, and St. Patrick's Day.  We have a friend that lives a block from the parade route and his house is parade central.  The standard rules are that he does a big pot of something (chili, Mulligan Stew) and everyone brings something snack-y and their own cooler.  Then we load the wagon up with the cooler and go find us a spot to whoop, holler, and collect whatever it is they are throwing from the street for the kiddos (candy, beads, hard hats) with beverage in hand.

I noticed yesterday that parades are a totally great patriotic/rah-rah event.  How that has escaped me before now, I do not know.  The St. Patty's Parade is even more so than the others.  I mean Halloween is just costumes and make up and Easter is all about the bunnies but the Irish know how to generate some awesome patriotic, middle class pride, union lovin' HYPE.  Bagpipes, journeymen, Jameson hookers girls in plaid short skirts, police on horseback, and marines with flags waving in the breeze?  Really- does it get any better than that?

There is also a group of folks that have become the "parade crew" and it is always fun to see all of them.  We don't see each other outside of those functions really because we all run in different circles and they happen to overlap at parade time.  Kids everywhere, coolers everywhere, and good times had by all.  Yesterday the weather was stunning.  Years in the past we have been standing in the snow or torrential rain.  Mother Nature cooperated and I was thrilled.

I decided to take something more substantial than snack food yesterday.  I needed a new game plan.  In years past I get there early with some other friends and we commence to early afternoon drinking which inevitably involves Bloody Mary's (yesterday) or Mimosas.  By 1 PM we are well on our way to becoming "that girl" and have had nothing but pretzels and chips to eat (stew comes after the parade).  By parade time (3PM), it's just ugly.  I decided to do it differently yesterday and actually brought Brats and Beer Braised Sauerkraut and it was pretty great.  Brats were local and sauerkraut was in the oven at 325 for 5 hours.  I added caramelized onions to the mix.  Yep.  That's just a recipe for goodness on a bun.  I should note that I did the brats on the grill after a brief beer boil instead of in the kraut.  Then I did it all on a bun.  Feel free to have it either way.

Next weekend I AM IN THE GARDEN.  If you need to see me, bring a shovel please.  The link for the rest of the St. Patty's Pics are here.  Enjoy and Happy St. Patty's week!!

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  1. I miss the ethnicity of a city like Louisville! Charlotte has lots of transplants but we're all so new we haven't had time to firmly plant our routes and stake out our claim to traditions and such. What a great event!