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The Sedona Main Street Program hosted the 44th annual St. Patrick’s Parade and Festival on Saturday, March 15.St. Patrick's Day Parade 2014

Residents came out to celebrate their Irish heritage and enjoy the parade and subsequent festival. Vendors provided corned beef sandwiches and local beer while bagpipe and Irish folk music filled Uptown.

While many of Sedona’s festivals strive to bring tourists to the city, the St. Patrick’s Parade is the big festival aimed at locals and we residents return in kind. Two counts conducted independently of each other by the Sedona Main Street Program estimated the crowd at around 5,500, making it one of the largest St. Patrick’s parades since the event moved from State Route 89A in West Sedona to Jordan Road in Uptown.

The parade and festival are not exclusive to Sedona residents. Sedona City Council members were joined by Cottonwood Mayor Diane Joens, Camp Verde Vice Mayor Jackie Baker, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick [D-District 1] and Big Red, the mascot of the Arizona Cardinals. Parade entries included the Flagstaff Kennel Club, the Camp Verde Cavalry, the Chino Valley High School Marching Band and the Sedona Verde Valley Firefighter Charities, whose members are from all over the Verde Valley. And yes, that was Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis in the neon green wig — we checked. You can see the photo of him handing out candy on Living, Page 1B, in today’s edition.

I’ve been to nearly every St. Patrick’s parade over the last 10 years, usually as a spectator and a few times as a backup photographer, but this year, my staff wanted to participate in the parade. Seven editorial staff members assembled early between a Korean War Jeep and the Arizona Cardinals cheerleaders and decorated my pickup in streamers and Larson Newspapers livery.

Seeing the massive crowds after cresting the ridge at Schnebly Road was inspiring, as was cheering from parade watchers. Locals often talk about our “community” and “residents” in abstraction, but to see them collected and enjoying each other’s company with such positivity was worth getting up early on a Saturday morning.

The only downside was many locals had to work that morning and missed out. My biggest difficulty on Tuesday, March 18, was choosing which photos to publish from the more than 100 images photojournalist Jordan Reece shot Saturday morning. Fortunately, we have posted the ones we did not have space for in the newspaper on our website,

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