It was a sea of green and white in downtown Royal Oak Saturday, and it had nothing to do with the Spartans.
It was the setting for the city’s seventh annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, which started at noon in front of the Royal Oak Middle School and traveled south on Washington Street into downtown Royal Oak. From Irish jig dancers to pooches with sunglasses, the event, sponsored by the Norman O’Brien Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, had something for everyone.
Fire trucks roared their battle cries, and throngs of people brought their best Irish garb, music and enthusiasm to the event, while those in the parade handed out literature about topics ranging from the Sierra Club and the Macomb County Irish Festival (Aug. 7-9, 2009), to the Royal Oak Public Library, Retired Greyhounds as Pets, and Recycle Royal Oak.
But the biggest winner on this sunshine-filled day was the city of Royal Oak itself, brimming with excited parade-goers who no doubt were famished from the afternoon’s festivities and eager to take in the local eateries, as well as explore the many boutiques unique to the city.
My boyfriend and I were two such parade-goers, and because of the parade spent almost three hours soaking up downtown, grabbing lunch at Mongolian Barbeque, 430 S. Main St., which was packed with people, including a chipper bunch of Girl Scouts. Mongo Man himself even found time to stop by and hang out with the youngsters.
Dessert was calling our names down the strip at Cold Stone Creamery, 420 S. Main St., but that meant choosing from the countless number of delicious options (Have you heard about their new ice cream cupcakes? Yum!) Our final decision: Cream de Menthe and Strawberry Cheesecake milkshakes.
And I know we weren’t the only ones who took advantage of all that eclectic Royal Oak had to offer that day. From Woody’s Diner to Lily’s Seafood, and The Uppity Puppy to Rise, just to name a few, downtown Royal Oak has something to offer even the toughest critic.
So not only did the 1,000-plus participants get a free hour of entertainment, but Royal Oak also had a golden opportunity to trumpet what it has to offer. And trumpet it did.
For a complete photo album, please visit the Urbane Flickr page.
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