The very first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Seattle was held in 1972 and the first honorary Grand Marshal was a well-known Seattle couturier and fashion icon, John Patrick Bishop. John was the logical choice for Grand Marshal, because for years before an official parade was instituted, he took it upon himself to paint a bright green stripe down the centre of 5th Avenue the night before St. Patrick’s Day, dodging police along the way. He used regular paint which was hard to remove and led to him being arrested. A lot.
To honour his memory, Irish Seattlites gather the night before the St. Patrick’s Day Parade to paint a bright green stripe along the parade route. Nowadays, they use traffic powdered paint which is far easier to remove and far less likely to get you arrested. In fact, the Seattle Police Department provide an escort all along the route to stop traffic as the green stripe painters pass through intersections.
It’s an awful lot of fun. I went down yesterday to check it out and produced a short video on how Seattle prepares for Paddy’s Day in 9 easy steps. Watch out for the pirates! Arrr!
Here are a few photos from yesterday’s Laying o’ the Green Stripe.