The streets and sidewalks of downtown Albany were a sea of green on Saturday afternoon as the 61st Annual Albany St. Patrick’s Day Parade attracted thousands of boisterous people.
The parade featured marching bands, firetrucks and police officers, with the added flavor of St. Patrick’s Day from Irish step dancers, kilts, bagpipes, an Irish pope, “Miss Limerick” and emerald colored accessories. Local participants included the Scotia-Glenville Pipe Band and the Schenectady Pipe Band.
The parade began at Quail Street and Central Avenue, merged with Washington Avenue and traveled down State Street, before passing the reviewing stand on North Pearl Street.
This was the first year sisters Caylyn, 23, and Alyssa Northburg, 21, both originally from Ballston Spa, went to the parade. They began their day at Savannah’s in downtown Albany, where radio station
FLY 92.3 was giving away prizes.
The sisters both agreed that the whole experience was fun and definitely worth repeating, but late in the afternoon Caylyn seemed to be wearing down. “I’m just a little cold, but I got my coffee and I’m good now,” she said.
The pair both wore green, with some attendees taking the theme to extremes with green tights, oversized hats, dyed hair and long horns that constantly wailed. The accommodating weather, which was mild and dry, also encouraged people to shed winter layers during the parade.
For two Clifton Park residents, Kevin Scotti and Timothy Oliver, this celebration has become a tradition that they never miss.
“I’m here every year,” said Oliver, who boasted about his Irish heritage. He concluded that this year’s festivities were good, but lamented the lack of Reuben sandwiches, which he said were more abundant in the past. Scotti joked that he was only “5 percent Irish,” but said he was still able to celebrate because everyone was included on St. Patrick’s Day.
The two young men were like many of the people that had enjoyed a few alcoholic drinks before and even during the day’s festivities.
Bars along the parade route were packed with patrons and even most people on the street could be seen with a beer in hand or a couple on ice in a cooler. The abundance of alcohol fostered a rowdy environment, with people clamoring for beads, yelling excitedly and dancing, as the parade captured the feel of an Irish Mardi Gras.
This atmosphere did get out of control early Saturday at several house parties in the areas of Hudson Avenue and Ontario Street, where police had to respond to reports of college students drinking and destroying property, according to Detective James Miller of the Albany Police Department.
He said that six college students were arrested for charges ranging from disorderly conduct to felony assault on a police officer, after a large number of officers responded to a gathering of several hundred students at 7:15 a.m. The students damaged several parked cars by smashing in windows, attempting to overturn one and caving in one’s roof, and they threw beer bottles at police officers, said Miller.
Stemming from the incidents, Patrick Fries, 21, and Samantha Cohen, 20, were charged with assault in the second degree, a felony, and resisting arrest. Fries, Joseph Almazon, 21, and Carl Petrucelli, 21, were also charged with reckless endangerment in the second degree and criminal possession of a weapon in the fourth degree.
In a separate incident, said Miller, a 20-year-old man was stabbed by a man after he refused to let him into his house party around 10:48 a.m. The victim was taken to Albany Medical Center with a serious wound, but it was not life-threatening, according to Miller.
Luckily these altercations appeared to be isolated events during the day, with police at the parade mostly just issuing warnings and handing out beads.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette: