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In Ventura, Annual Parade and Irish Fun Get the Green Light

March 18, 2001|MATT SURMAN

VENTURA — Wearing green caps, leprechaun buttons and shamrock socks, hundreds of people gathered along Main Street on Saturday for the city's 14th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

"I wanted to get in the St. Patrick's spirit," said Stephanie Simko of Ventura, who was among the crowd.

She gushed, "So cute," at the puppies in green sweaters as they padded by. She admired the lilting squeals of the bagpipes. But the little Irish dancers were her favorite.

"The girls were very cute," she said. "They all had curls and were a little out of step."

The theme of the hourlong parade was "When Irish Hearts Are Smiling." KVTA-AM (1520) radio personalities Dave and Bob, otherwise known as Dave Ciniero and Bob Adams, served as grand marshals. The parade seemed like a snapshot of small-town life: local school marching bands, children with faces painted green and restaurant workers on the backs of flatbed trucks.

Mia Cole of Ventura wouldn't have come if it hadn't been for her kids, Carissa, 10, and Christian, 6, who liked the roar of the passing motorcycles. Carissa was careful to wear green. She had paid for not doing so at school Friday with a big pinch.

"I didn't want to get pinched today," she said.

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