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St. Patrick's Day Comes Early

St. Patrick's Day may not be until March 17, but the 21st Anniversary Alexandria St. Patrick's Day Parade will be held this Saturday, March 2.

This past Sunday, Pat Troy's Restaurant and Pub held its annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Fund-Raiser to kick it all off. Bagpipe players and Irish dancers entertained guests as they dined and drank. Baskets of cheer were raffled off, and several items were available as part of a silent auction.

When asked why the parade was being held so early, Debbie Kaufman, assistant parade coordinator for the past 10 years, said that they had to submit their dates five years in advance before they knew what the dates of other parades would be. They try not to conflict with the parade held in Washington, D.C., which as it turns out will be held on St. Patrick's Day, Sunday, March 17. Kaufman also said, "Pat [Troy] likes to be the first one in the country," adding, "This way it keeps Irish-American Heritage Month alive all month, and people have more occasions to come in and enjoy Alexandria's two Irish pubs (Murphy's and Pat Troy's)."

This year the parade will be a tribute to members of the armed services, law enforcement, firefighters and rescue workers. Chris Keppler, public relations coordinator for the parade, said that members of the Alexandria Fire Department will carry the flag that was hung at the Pentagon after September 11, escorted by one of their fire trucks.

The Alexandria St. Patrick's Day Parade will start at 12:30 p.m. at King and West streets. It will proceed east on King to Fairfax Street, past the reviewing stand at North Pitt Street. Before the parade, the Fun Dog Show will be held in Market Square from 10:30 a.m.-noon, and the Classic Car Show at North Royal and North Pitt streets from 10:30 a.m.-noon. For more information, call 703-237-2199.