I remember it like it was yesterday. It was the '02 Mal's St. Paddy's Parade. I went against my better judgment and wore the two-inch platform flip-flops I had ordered from the Delia's catalog. The shoes felt like they weighed two pounds each, and after half an hour of walking toward the Capitol building, the tops of my feet had red indentions that were starting to hurt.
Fast forward three hours later, and I was tumbling down a hill and falling directly into a group of guys. My shoe was broken. It was all I could do to mumble, "Sorry," and hobble down North State Street with one shoe on, and my humiliation showing up as a general redness in my face/neck region. So, here are a few of my suggestions and items to bring with you for the best parade experience possible.
• Wear comfortable shoes Refer to the paragraphs above—utter humiliation, folks.
• Try to secure a tent A spot is hard to come by but so worth it. It may be spring, but it gets hot around noon, and a tent is a great place to set camp.
• Bring a chair I recommend that parade goers who aren't too crazy about crowds be the bearer of this gift to the area your group is standing in. Usually goes best with a tent.
• Sunscreen More personal experience here: Do not forget to apply sunscreen to your earlobes, neck and chest region if you are female. Nothing is worse then having a tan defined by the outline of a few dozen strings of beads. Guys may want to avoid that oh-so-charming farmer tan and slather some on your arms.
• Green food coloring I have a friend who has done this in the past, and I loved the idea. A couple drops and green beer for everyone! Who wouldn't like green beer on St. Patrick's Day?
• Cooler I suggest everyone take a small cooler bag. Just put it on your shoulder and go.
• Cash If you are planning on ending up at Hal & Mal's for the party at the end of the parade, do yourself a favor and get cash before the parade. Seriously, get cash. I will say it again, get cash.
• Tip well This parade is one of the biggest events of the year. Hal & Mal's calls in all sorts of veteran bartenders and service staff from years past to make your experience a great one. Tip them well and ensure that St. Patrick's weekend is a good one for them, too.