Holyoke St. Patrick's day parade draws crowds - and politicians - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Holyoke St. Patrick's day parade draws crowds - and politicians

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

Every year hundreds of thousands of spectators set up lawn chairs and line the streets of Holyoke to be a part of the city's biggest tradition.

"What you see here is really a community of 40,000 swells to 400,000 the day of the parade," said parade organizer Richard Feyre.

Feyre has been helping organize the parade for 39 years.

He says that it's not just the colleens and the bagpipes that come out on parade day, but the politicians as well.

"They recognize not only the exposure but the fun and the excitement, because our parade is a family-orientated parade," he said.

Once a year the Paper City becomes the largest stage in the area for politicians hoping to meet with constituents and fellow legislators.

This year the names range from senior member of Congress Richard Neal, to U.S. Senate hopeful Edward Markey, not to mention mayors from Springfield, West Springfield and beyond.

"We have over the years but most recently, all of our congressmen show up and the governor has shown up a number of times," Feyre said.

This year, even the casino companies are getting into the St. Patrick's Day spirit. Penn National is sponsoring the Springfield division, and MGM will have representatives marching.

In its 62 year history, the parade has even hosted president John F. Kennedy in 1958 when he was a U.S. senator.

Feyre says it's a tradition he doesn't expect to see end anytime soon.

"It's a great homecoming for all those citizens of Holyoke and past citizens of Holyoke," he said.

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