Annual Holyoke St. Patrick's parade makes history - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

Annual Holyoke St. Patrick's parade makes history

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Once again, hundreds of thousands lined the streets, ready to enjoy a parade that has been going on for more than 60 years.

Temperatures just above freezing, with gusting winds, could not slow down the 63rd annual Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade.

Palmer resident Savannah Aitken, as well as her sister's family Haverhill, came prepared to deal with the chilly weather.

"[We have] blankets, my kids, I have their [Nintendo] DS's and snacks," said Aitken. "Anything that will have them sit under a blanket and stay warm anything to keep them occupied."

For a parade veteran like Holyoke City Councilor Joe McGiverin, who has walked in 35 parades, he told CBS 3 that the cold seems to help move festivities along.

"I've walked in snow, rain, a little bit of everything," McGiverin stated. "It's the wind that's the real killer. I've always said that when it's a cold day like this, the crowds are warm and a little bit quicker. It's a great scene out there, and we always enjoy seeing the people who came to Holyoke to watch the parade."

"When we got the news that we were going to be able to march in the parade, all of the kids were very excited," said Marisol Rivera, the advisor for Holyoke High School's Gay Straight Alliance.

Rivera was happy to be on hand with three students from her group, as they believe they became the first LGBT organization to march in the parade.

"I'm proud for my students for stepping up and saying they wanted to be a part of this history-making moment," said Rivera. "Just like [Holyoke] Mayor Alex Morse said, it's a big step, especially for the kids to be a part of it."

Morse started the Gay Straight Alliance while he was a student at Holyoke High School.

The students of today hope this is just the start of bigger things.

"This is a community event," said Auriana Rojas, president of the alliance. "We're part of the community, and we're happy to be here. We just hope that more organizations will be in this parade in the future."

The Gay Straight Alliance said they plan to be back in the parade next year.

They hope to have a float and more of the group taking part.

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