St. Patrick's Day Parade Welcomes Spring in Spokane - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

St. Patrick's Day Parade Welcomes Spring in Spokane

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SPOKANE, Wash. -

It would be quite an understatement to say Maureen Peterson is simply proud of her Irish heritage.

"I've always been proud of being Irish," said Peterson. "I think people look to the Irish for fun, it's kind of what we're known for."

Maureen holds dual citizenship in the United States and Ireland. She has led over 15 trips to Ireland and is also responsible for the relationship Spokane has with its sister city, Limerick, Ireland.

And, she was one of the original founders of Spokane's St. Patrick's Day Parade 36 years ago in 1979.

"In a very short period of time, we decided to do it," she remembers about planning the 1st parade in just a few months. "We staged it at the Sheraton, and later we decided it was a good idea to tell the manager of the Sheraton that we were going to do that."

Maureen remembers the event having close to 100 rowdy spectators when it first began. Years later, the event now sees thousands of attendees and participants, and is far more family friendly.

Maureen's home is filled with green, Irish-themed knick-knacks, but most memorable is the a Gaelic sign hanging on her front door that translates to "100,000 welcomes," a popular saying in Ireland.

And so, it is fitting that Maureen sees this parade not only as a festive way to celebrate her Irish heritage, but also as a way to say good-bye to winter and a way to extend a warm 'welcome' to spring.

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