Margaret Regan has been attending the St. Patrick's Day parade every year for 20 years and this was no exception.

"I'm Irish - why shouldn't I celebrate my heritage?" Regan said, smiling in Saturday's sunshine wearing a bright green sweater.The parade has gotten better over the years, the veteran parade-watcher said. "There are lots of different groups that want to get involved in the parade and the floats have improved," she said.

"One of the fun things about this parade is that it has pulled the Irish people together," she said.

The parade also is the catalyst for some greater social good done by the Hibernian Society, which sponsors the parade and related St. Patrick's Day events. Among other things, Regan said, the society not only upholds Irish traditions through activities like this but also helps the entire community through civic activities such as public television fund-raisers.

The parade had a new route this year because of street construction, but that didn't seem to dampen the enthusiasm of people lining the streets.

"It's a festive time and everyone is unified, even if they're not Irish," said Judy Fuwell, whose husband, Paul, is of Irish heritage. The couple was at the parade with children Shelley, 13, who said her favorite color is green, and Michael, 13 months, who was attending his first parade.

The Fuwells plans to have a "green meal" on Tuesday, the real St. Patrick's Day, to continue their celebration. "I like the Irish traditionals, but my family doesn't like corned beef and cabbage or Irish stew. So we cook a green dinner. We dye eggs green and I buy those Hostess green Sno-Balls. I also have green bread from the bakers so we'll have green sandwiches," Judy Fuwell said.

She said she can't remember when she first began attending the parade. "We've been doing it since my kids were little and I've got one who is 22."

Matt and Erin Tinney said this was their first year watching the parade, but they plan to make it an annual event with their son, Christopher, 2. "We're both of Irish descent," he said. "It's something fun and entertaining," she said.

Susan Carter, who sported a painted shamrock on her face and shamrock earrings, rested with son Justin, 2, at the Gallivan Center after participating in the parade on behalf of Squatters. Her husband is general manager of the restaurant. "It was fun. There were more people than I expected there would be," she said. However, young Justin got tired and eventually found it hard to keep waving.

Both Kyle and Rita Harvey are of Scottish descent, but they turned out for the parade anyhow with McKenna, 3, and Tanner, 2, who were both dressed in tartan.

"We're just doing something with the family," Kyle Harvey said. "Everyone's Irish on St. Patrick's Day."