BENNINGTON -- Residents lined up along Main Street for the Bennington's St. Patricks Day parade on Sunday, despite the parade coming together seemingly at the last minute.
The parade began at 1 p.m. at the old middle school on Main Street, proceeding down through the Four Corners before during right down Depot Street and ending at the Bennington Fire Department. Both the BFD and the Bennington Rural Fire Department participated in the parade. The majority of spectators were gathered around the Four Corners, but people congregated along the entire parade route. At the corner of River and Depot Streets, a group of girl scouts had set up a table and were selling cookies.
About a month ago the owner of JC's Tavern, of 135 Depot Street, approached John Shannahan, executive director of the Better Bennington Corporation Corporation, in order to start planning the parade. The St. Patrick's Day parade in the past has been planned and lead by T.J. Carmody, owner of the former Carmody's Pub on Main Street, who has been out of state.
It had been previously reported that Madison's Pub and Brewery had approached Shannahan, but it was in fact the ownership of JC's, according to Jackie Carson, who was participating in the parade.
The parade was led by bagpiper Merrick Hard, and a person dressed as a cow, who was throwing candy to children.
Despite the short notice, many local businesses had representatives in the parade. Evan's News, of 434 Main Street, Bennington, Carbone Auto Group, of 751 North Bennington Road in Bennington, Stephen's Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, of 200 North Street in Bennington, Jerome Construction, of 1357 West Road in Bennington, Nemer Nissan Chevrolet Cadillac Buick, of 24 Performance Drive, Bennington, Kevin's Sports Pub, of 27 Main Street, North Bennington, and Phoenix Wing Productions of 320 Elm Street in Bennington all had vehicles in the parade.
Several not-for-profit groups participated in the parade as well, including the Whirling Twirlers, of Bennington, who teach baton twirling to children from age four through eighth grade. The Crossover Cloggers also performed. Clogging is a type of folk dance, originating in England and Wales, is which the dancers' footwear is used musically, by striking the heel, toe, or both against the ground to create rhythm. The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life also had a float, complete with a wishing well, to promote this year's theme, which is "When you wish upon a cure." The Pownal Girl Scouts and the Mount Anthony Union Dance Team were also in attendence.
"It will be planned next year," said Shannahan in an interview with the Banner on Thursday, "but this year we're going on a wing and a prayer."
After the parade, revelers were invited to JC's Tavern for Irishfest. Hart and a traditional Irish band performed as enjoyed Irish fare, such as corned beef sandwiches. The tavern opened at 9:30 a.m. this morning for their Kegs and Eggs fundraiser, which benefitted the Bennington County Coalition for the Homeless. They will open at noon on Monday, St. Patrick's Day proper.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at Members of the Bennington Girl Scouts walk in the Bennington St. Patrick’s Day parade on Sunday afternoon on Main Street./Holly Pelczynski/Bennington Banner