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A Touch Of The Irish: Kids, families celebrate with St. Patrick’s Day Parade

DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / Parade Grand Marshal John Branning Hewitt, 2, rides in the lap of his grandfather, Lester Bellah, in a golf cart leading the St. Patrick's Day Parade down South Church Street Saturday.

DAILY LEADER / RACHEL EIDE / Parade Grand Marshal John Branning Hewitt, 2, rides in the lap of his grandfather, Lester Bellah, in a golf cart leading the St. Patrick’s Day Parade down South Church Street Saturday.

Normally a quiet place only interrupted by the sounds of a lawnmower or a leaf blower or an occasional passing car on a weekend morning, South Church Street buzzed with activity Saturday as brightly colored beads flew from the hands of marchers and riders participating in a St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

A throng of children, parents, grandparents and friends was led by a golf cart bearing the Grand Marshal of the event, John Branning (“O’Branning” for the day, of course) Hewitt, whose second birthday was the reason for the celebration.

Scores of marchers and riders, including Holden Scott (front left on bicycle) and his parents, Kelly and Chad Scott, and Kenslie Bairfield Bairfield (far right on bike) joined in the event celebrating St. Patrick's Day and John Branning Hewitt's second birthday. The parade, which traveled for several blocks, culminated in a birthday party at the Hewitt home.

Scores of marchers and riders, including Holden Scott (front left on bicycle) and his parents, Kelly and Chad Scott, and Kenslie Bairfield Bairfield (far right on bike) joined in the event celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and John Branning Hewitt’s second birthday. The parade, which traveled for several blocks, culminated in a birthday party at the Hewitt home.

The parade was the brainchild of John’s mom, Melissa Hewitt, and Wendi Case. The St. Patrick’s Day tradition started last year with a much smaller parade near the Hewitts’ home. This year, the women expanded the event to include much of South Church Street, and they obtained police escorts to ensure safety. Officers blocked off the section of the street and the fun began.

In addition to a few golf carts bedecked in St. Patrick’s Day colors, the parade also included Barbie cars, bicycles, tricycles and scores of green-wearing marchers.

“We wanted to do a parade for the kids, and his birthday happens to coincide with it,” Case said. Invitations were sent out around the neighborhood, and parade watchers gathered along the route in hopes of catching a tossed string of beads. Many waving from the sidelines joined in the fun by wearing green for the special occasion.

The procession began in front of the Case home at the corner of Natchez and South Church and continued south for several blocks before turning into a side street and the Hewitt family home.

The birthday celebration culminated with a party featuring cupcakes and hotdogs in the family’s backyard. In addition to the birthday boy, J.D. and Melissa Hewitt also have two other sons, Will, 5, and Hank, 4.