Ryan Scott Ottney
PDT Staff Writer
It might have been the luck of the Irish that pushed away the rain Saturday morning just in time for the Seventh Annual 7 Nations Celtic Club St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Portsmouth.
Organizer Lee Daily said the 7 Nations Celtic Club started seven years ago when a group of friends were sitting around Port City Pub and Cafe on Chillicothe Street and decided that Portsmouth needed its own St. Patrick’s Day Parade. To achieve this, they created the club to organize what has become an annual St. Patrick’s Day event.
“St. Patrick’s Day is one of the oldest parades in the United States. When they built the (Port City) Pub, we decided … just a bunch of guys talking and drinking a pint. We said, ‘We need to have a parade,’ and from that we started a club,” said Daily, who has a lot of experience putting on a parade in Portsmouth from his work with Portsmouth Jaycees.
Daily said the parade gets bigger every year. This year’s lineup included the James Dickey American Legion Post 23, Port City Pub, American Red Cross, American Family Insurance, Scioto County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Cirque d’Art, Southern Ohio Medical Center, King’s Daughters Medical Center, Portsmouth Fire Department, Portsmouth River Days, Goodwill, Main Street Portsmouth, Knights of Columbus, Sierra’s Haven, and the little leprechaun played by 8-year-old C.R. Cochran of West Portsmouth.
With his bright red hair, Cochran was actually born on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005. Daily said he always promised that when the boy was old enough, he was going to lead the parade. This year he made good on that promise, with Cochran waving to the crowd from the lead car.
“We got the letter inviting him to be the Junior Grand Marshal, and we jumped right on it,” said C.R.’s father, Randy Cochran. “He get’s a puppy for doing it.”
C.R. said he was excited to lead the parade, but was equally excited to be getting a golden retriever — which he’ll name Perry.
This year’s Grand Marshals were John and Sue Burke.
“He’s a big contributor to the parade, and she does a lot of stuff in the community,” Daily said.
The parade began lining up at 10 a.m. on Market Street, and began sharply at 11 a.m. — traveling south to Second Street, then left to Washington Avenue; north on Washington to move right onto Fifth Street, then left onto Chillicothe Street to end at Tracy Park. By the time the parade ended, the rain clouds were gone and many people followed the rainbow back Port City Pub for more celebration.
For more information about the 7 Nations Celtic Club, visit them online at www.7ncc.org.
Ryan Scott Ottney can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 287, or firstname.lastname@example.org.