From St. Patrick, Ohio, where there are no more Irish, to New York, which has plenty, Americans joyously celebrated St. Patrick's Day Friday with parades, drinking and showing off the traditional green.
Even NASA engineers controlling the flight of the shuttle Discovery got into the act by changing the color of their giant tracking map from blue to green."But, of course, everybody is Irish on St. Patrick's Day," said John Maloney, who runs a bar in Scranton, Pa., where festivities began last Saturday.
In New York, leading the estimated 150,000 Irish and honorary Irish marchers was grandmother Dorothy Hayden Cudahy, the first female grand marshal in the history of the city's 228-year-old parade, which highlights the country's largest St. Patrick's celebration. More than 1 million people were expected to line up both sides of green-striped Fifth Avenue.
Cudahy dedicated the march to "our mothers and all our ancestors who came from Ireland."
The tiny Ohio community of St. Patrick was ready for the day even though there are no more Irish left there. It was in 1862 that the Irish settled the village about 60 miles northwest of Columbus to help build the Miami and Erie Canal. But they moved on years ago, and all that's left is six houses and St. Patrick Church.
The Rev. Henry Albietz, pastor of the Catholic church, said nearly all the 120 families in his parish are of German descent.
Albietz will have a spaghetti dinner Sunday, meaning, "A bunch of Germans are getting together to celebrate an Irish saint by eating Italian food."
Friday night, the German families will crown a St. Patrick's Day queen at a tavern in nearby McCartyville, and a 3-mile Irish jog will go from St. Patrick to McCartyville Saturday.
But the race's organizer, Larry Huecker, said it's not really much of a race.
"About 50 percent of the people walk," he said. "Some of them pull wagons with beer or Irish whiskey and drink it along the way. It's not very competitive."
In Salem, Oregon, The Statesman-Journal newspaper changed its name for the day to Statesman-O'Journal.
In Savannah, Ga., portable bleachers and potties were wedged in among the azalea blossoms as the city prepared to host its 165th St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Billed as the second largest St. Patrick's Day celebration in the nation, businesses and law enforcement personnel braced themselves for an expected crowd of more than 300,000 revelers.
Mayor John Rousakis, who is of Greek descent, polished his Irish brogue as he tossed green food coloring into the city's historic Forsyth Fountain.
"The greening of the fountains gets everybody in the green spirit and kicks off the parade," he said.