jeanine fritz

I don't know what you're doing this Sunday, but if you're not gonna be outside Conor O'Neill's Traditional Irish Pub around noon, then for your sake I hope you've got very impressive alternate plans, because you'll be missing The World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade.

(And yes, it's on the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day; been that way for years, newbie.)

The beauty of this particular Boulder tradition is that while the route may be short (just two blocks up 13th, starting at the pub) the fun goes on long after the parade's over.

Sure, you've got your Centennial Pipe Band with their kilts blowin' in the breeze, the zillions of Irish dancers with their curly-fry wigs and stampy patent leather shoes, and the requisite number of bagpipers.

But this is a Boulder parade and so you also get folks like the Paddy O'Furniture Drill Team -- the long-standing, lawn-chair lovin' posse of nuts who practice choreographed dance moves, flipping the metal chairs around and shouting "We Will, We Will (Sham)Rock You!"

And then there are the people who dressed themselves and their special ladyfriends up in head-to-toe green, and quickly realized they had enough craft materials left over to also dress their baby and their dog like leprechauns before moving on to the neighbors.

It's an utterly insane, unilaterally fun afternoon, and then afterwards, it's time to drink beer.

So yeah, I'm going. You bet yer sweet bippy I'll be there.

After having been on the parade staff last year (it was really hard; I had to wear an orange vest and make sure the parade didn't accidentally march down an alley they had no intention of marching down), I realized I couldn't stand on the sidelines again. I wanted to be IN the parade. But outside of dressing up, downing several green beers and playing a kazoo, I don't have any special parade-related talents. How to set myself apart was a serious problem. But it's always darkest before the dawn, friends. (I know this because I check on a regular basis.)

In my preparations for hara-kiri, an idea hit me: if this is the World's Shortest Parade, then by gum, I'd have the World's Smallest Parade Float.

I opted to call in some help from Emmett, a three year-old boy with an affinity for dump trucks and stegosauruses, who is my smallest friend. I showed Emmett what a parade float looked like and then asked him which ones he found coolest. (This is called market research, friends.) To my chagrin, Emmett's sticky finger pointed time and time again at the colossal, intricate floats from Brazil's Carnival.

"I have less than a week to pull this off, man," I told him. "And I don't know how to make miniature hot air balloons fly above a creepy clown face, or built angels who trail behind a giant Obama..."

"DRAGON! Deaneen, make a dragon! With fire!"

I hated to crush the kid but it was time to tell him I was looking for something already finished, that I could glue to a shoebox covered in Easter grass and then duct tape to a roller skate. He handed me his stegosaurus. Frankly, that didn't seem like a bad call, not a bad call at all...So I guess I'll be seeing you laddies and lasses there, me and my stegosaurus-dump truck float.