|Herald photo by Nick Kuhl
Dave Seewalt and John Lomas lead about 75 patrons on the 75-metre trek from CarmangayÕs village office to the Grange Hotel during the worldÕs shortest St. PatrickÕs Day parade Sunday.
It only takes about two minutes to walk the 75 metres from Carmangay's village office to the Grange Hotel.
But every year on March 17, for nearly the past three decades, the trek is filled with revellers and families wearing green and enjoying what is boasted as the world's shortest St. Patrick's Day parade.
Sunday morning's version had about 75 people walk the approximately 150 paces to enjoy a complimentary Irish coffee upon arrival at the Grange, as well as live music and green beer.
"It's just a riot and it's something everyone should experience," said Carmangay resident Tammy Fitzpatrick.
"The spontaneity of it, I think, is what makes it so great," added Carmangay mayor Kym Nichols.
"It's totally unorganized. People know to show up at 11, exactly 11, or you'll miss it."
The parade has no formality to it - and it never has.
It began when Fitzpatrick's father, former owner of the Grange, went and asked the mayor to come over for a drink on St. Patrick's Day. They walked the 75 metres, then did it again the next year.
Now, 26 years later, the parade has taken on a life of its own.
"We talked about expanding it, but people were pretty firm on keeping it just the way it is," Nichols said.
"I'm 20, so I've been coming for 20 years," said Dylan Beck, Fitzpatrick's son.
"It does get the community together and really, in Carmangay, you don't see too many people sitting in here all at the same time."
"We thought we'd come and check it out," added John Lomas, who brought his accordion with him from Lethbridge. "It looks like this has got the makings of an excellent day."
"This is a heritage here and it's just awesome," said Dave Seewalt, who has coming to the parade for the past seven years.
"Everybody has just a grand time the old Irish way, the way they wanted it to be. Thank God it was a short walk today because it's pretty cold out there."