2012 St. Patrick’s Day Parade Draws Thousands

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CLEVELAND -- Bands, bagpipes and floats were all part of Cleveland's 145th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. Whether it was the Irish Eyes smiling on the city, or just the luck of the Irish, it was a picture perfect day for this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade.

The temperature reached 77 degrees. That was a record-breaking high for any St. Patrick's Day in Cleveland. "We couldn’t have ordered it better," parade spectator Veronica Michalk said.

Organizers believe the nice weather, and that St. Patrick's Day fell on a Saturday, brought record-breaking crowds to downtown Cleveland. They say 16,000 people were in the parade, and an estimated 2,000-3,000 people lined Superior Avenue from East 18th Street to Public Square to watch the parade.

Joe Kelly has rarely missed a parade since leaving Ireland in 1948. He says being here brings back memories. "I used to parade here years ago. I used to be the bass drummer for the West Side Irish American Club for 18 years," Kelly said.

Coming to the parade has become a tradition for many Irish families. That was the case for Eileen Kelly Murphy. "Go to church and then go to the parade. It's a family time," she said.

This was the first St. Patrick's Day Parade for the Rick Kaiser family. "I have lived in Cleveland all my life, but this is my first parade. So, I wanted to experience it with my family for the first time," Kaiser said.

While most people bring their kids, Lee Schantz brought his dogs Shamrock and Snickers. "My dogs come every year. My dog Shamus died this year. He came every year for seven years. This is the first year he missed," Schantz said.

Fox 8 Meteorologist A.J. Colby said the temperatures have been in the 60s for the past three St. Patrick Days. The temperature had to reach 73 degrees to break the record for the day. "It's really, really unusual. A very small percentage of St. Patrick's Days are this warm in the first place. Usually, we're shoveling snow," Colby said.

No snow this year. In fact, it seemed only the beautiful blue skies could upstage the day dedicated to everything green. The first St. Patrick's Day Parade stepped off in 1867, but St. Patrick's Day 2012 may be remembered as the best one ever.

*Watch St. Patrick’s Day Parade Web Extra Videos

*If you went to the parade, submit your pictures here.