Twelve years ago, in cooperation with the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce, Mike Sweeney started the very first St. Patrick's Day Parade on a typical cold, snowy and blustery spring day with more people participating in the parade than watching from the side.
However, the last few years have been a testimony to the luck of the Irish and the results of plain hard work and perseverance. Also during the last few years, Soldotna's early spring event has rivaled many summer activities such as Progress Days and the Fourth of July Pavade having many participants, spectators and nice weather.
Even though it was the first Monday of Spring Break, hundreds of families came out in short-sleeved shirts and light jackets to watch the parade and enjoy one of the nicest days of the year. The annual corned beef and cabbage dinner and auction was enjoyed by all, and the continued calm winds and mild temperatures made for a spectacular fireworks display that was enjoyed by thousands in the Central Peninsula.
"It just keeps getting bigger and better with nicer weather each year," said Sweeney, who was Irish enough to drive a new blue pick-up as the caboose for the parade. Hundreds of children played in the dry sand along the Spur Highway and rushed to gather candy as it was tossed from those riding by in the parade.
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