Inaugural Hudson St. Patrick’s parade kissed with Irish luck
Thousands take in event
There is no denying it: Hudson loves to celebrate. And last Saturday was no exception when more than 5,000 people turned out for the first-ever Hudson St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
With a touch of Irish luck, mother nature offered reasonably mild temperatures and partly sunny skies as parade participants frommore than 50 groups or floats geared up to walk what had been dubbed the green line. The parade that began at 1:00 p.m. at Westwood Sr. High School on côte SaintCharles, wound its way down Main until Cameron, where groups turned right, making it easier to double back to their starting point or continue out of town.
The departure from the normal parade route that ends at the Community Centre (where vehicles have a hard time turning around) was applauded by many as far easier to navigate.
AndrewDumas, aHudson resident and coowner of Cunningham’s Pub, which founded and organized the event, estimates between 5,000 to 10,000 parade goers attended the day.
“It’s hard to count sincewe didn’t sell tickets or anything, but the parade route was packed its entire length,” he said, adding he was very surprised at how quickly the event blossomed.
“When we originally came up with the idea, we thought we would have five or six floats for our first effort,” Dumas said with a laugh.
In fact, more than 50 community groups - from a one-person participant, to the Shriners, which had dozens of chapters involved - heeded the call to become Irish for the day.
Other groups included the Hudson Yacht Club, some players from the Montreal Alouettes football team, the Saint-Lazare Spirit Basketball organization, several local newspapers, the Hudson and Saint-Lazare IGA, the Hudson Village Theatre, Mega Blocks, and, of course, a float representing the three Cunningham’s Pubs locations (Hudson, Beaconsfield and Sainte-Anne-deBellevue). As expected, greenwas the colour of the day, with parade participants and revellers alike deckedout in everything from green coats, hats, pants or shoes (someworn at the same time,) to a motorcycle riding parade participantwho had tinted his goatee and tongue the same vivid emerald hue.
When asked if the region will see a second, third or fourth annual Hudson St. Patrick’s Day parade, Dumasreplied inthe affirmative.
“For sure this will become an annual tradition... We’re meeting tonight to go over what was good and what we might need to change, but we will definitely do this again next year.”
Dumas credits a team of close to a dozen volunteerswith the parade’s success, and says the town of Hudson also came through with flying colours.
“They cooperated 100-percent and supported us every step of the way. We really could not have pulled this off without that kind of encouragement.”
After realizing how big the parade would be, the town also offered help Saturday from the community patrol and the fire department.
Dumas said most businesses in town benefited from the huge turnout with increased business, none perhaps as much as Cunningham’s itself.
The restaurant’s Cameron St. location was packed to overflowing, with crowds spilling out into the street immediately following the parade.
But they did not sully their Irish roots by serving Green beer.
“No, we would never do that. Green beer is a very American thing and something a true Irishman would never drink,” he said.
Asked what a real Irish drink would be, Dumas replied: “A hearty pint of Guinness, of course.”
Cunningham’s Pub in Hudson was the place to be following the parade.
The Shriners had dozens of groups involved in the parade.