Sherman traded its maroon and white for a little green Saturday as the city held a St. Patrick’s Day parade through downtown. This is the first year that the city has held the celebration for one of Ireland’s most iconic figures.
The parade brought out nearly 30 civic, religious and other groups who marched downtown.
“We are pretty excited to have this many participating in our inaugural run,” Sherman Tourism and Main Street Asst. Michelle Adams said.
St. Patrick, an early British cleric, is regarded as one of the first founders of Christianity in Ireland. He is believed to have practiced Christianity in Ireland around the early fifth century and is now known as one of the patron saints for the island.
Celebrations in honor of the saint are held each year on March 17 — the supposed date of his death. In Ireland the day is often seen as a religious holiday, while elsewhere the holiday is more of a celebration of Ireland itself.
Adams said the idea for the parade started with the owners of the Old Iron Post and the Texoma Society of Celts. In total, organizers spent about six months planning the inaugural event, she said.
“This all started because our Tourism Director Sarah McRae and Sherry and Robert Little are all very passionate about St. Patrick’s Day,” she said.
Adams said the interest in the holiday may also have been spurred by the recent success of the Sherman Celtic Festival and Highland Games, which will be celebrating its third year next week.
Rob Ballew, who organizes the festival, agreed that the parade serves as a perfect tie in, despite it having a broader focus.
Ballew, who participated as a member of the Sherman Police Regional Pipe Band, said the holiday itself has many meanings to different people. To some it is a day to celebrate and party while others see it as a day to celebrate one’s culture.
“It is a multifaceted day,” he said. “To those of us that are religious, the story of Patrick coming and bringing Christianity to Ireland is the true purpose.”
Among those attending the event was Summer Griffin, who brought her family. She said she was happy that the parade gave her the chance to celebrate the holiday with her kids in a family-friendly way. Griffin said she has been trying to teach her children about their Celtic heritage through the parade.
Following the parade, Old Iron Post held an awards ceremony, with categories ranging from finest four-legged friend to the pot of gold award.