St. Patrick's Day Parade fun for most, work for others

MILWAUKEE -- There was no mistaking the occasion for Saturday's parade through downtown Milwaukee. The bagpipes, Irish dancers and green attire made it clear St. Patrick's Day was the cause for celebration. While most people were there to relax, it was another day of work for some.

Shawn Finch pushed a cart of green, shamrock-emblazoned goods along Wisconsin Avenue in the minutes leading up to the parade. As a street vendor, he works most of the area's festivals and parades. "It's a family business. I always come in to help my parents with it. They've been doing it for upwards of 30, 40 (years)," Finch said.

As the parade began, onlookers crowded the route. The Shamrock Club bagpipers, local politicians, area police and small businesses weaved through downtown streets. Todd Taylor hoped the parade could provide a lesson for his small son, Sheamus. "My wife's entire side of the family is Irish, so this brings Sheamus to see his cultural roots here in Milwaukee," Taylor said.

After the parade, the party continued at the Irish Cultural and Heritage Center. The parade's website states Milwaukee has the seventh-oldest St. Patrick's Day parade in the U.S. The first parade was in 1843, which is before Milwaukee was incorporated as a city and Wisconsin was admitted as a state.