Schenectady County

Crowd’s all Irish for annual parade

The weather was warm and sunny, the bands were festive, and Jason Smith the evil leprechaun was perf

The weather was warm and sunny, the bands were festive, and Jason Smith the evil leprechaun was performing his own mini parade on the sidewalk.

Decked out in a green leisure suit, a red wig, fake nose, ear extensions and pointy fangs, the Nassau man inspired a horrified look from a young girl and posed for a photo with one female admirer.

But Smith’s girlfriend, Deborah Brown, wouldn’t be seen with him.

“She called me ugly,” he growled.

Most costumes at the St. Patrick’s Day parade were more festive than Smith’s. From afar, the crowd gathered at the Empire State Plaza was a sea of green.

People drank beer on the sidewalk as they watched the parade, which attracted thousands on a springlike Saturday. The two-hour parade stepped off at the corner of Quail Street and Central Avenue, went down Washington Avenue and continued onto State Street to Pearl Street.

A group of about 50 family members and friends got their prime spot on Washington Avenue early.

With a grill, food and pickup trucks to stand in for a better view, the group came prepared to camp out two hours before the 59th annual parade stepped off at 2 p.m.

“We are the East Schodack contingent,” said Lynda Johnson, adding the group is all “related” through the East Schodack Fire Department.

Some are Irish by blood and others by choice, Johnson said.

They served up corned beef from a grill on the sidewalk, and even offered some to Mayor Jerry Jennings, who declined, said Connie Stahlman of East Greenbush.

“We’ve always made sure that we came here,” Stahlman said. “My dad used to be in the parade when we were younger.”

On Saturday, she called her mother in Connecticut as the bagpipes passed, so her mom could hear the music.

Jordan Cross’s two pet ferrets got a lot of attention as he walked them on leashes from his home in Albany to see the parade.

“I go to every parade. That’s my time to bring my babies out,” he said, referring to ferrets Ariel and Hayate.

Parade attendees watched with amusement before the event and even cheered as illegally parked cars were towed from the parade route.

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