Why Doesn’t Kalamazoo, Michigan Have A Great St. Patrick’s Day Tradition?
I was looking at this picture of the Chicago River dyed bright green for St. Patrick's Day and I thought to myself "why doesn't Kalamazoo have a St. Patrick's Day tradition?"
If you google "St. Patrick's Day traditions", Chicago green-dyed river is on top of every ranking. Now I'm not suggesting we dye Arcadia Creek, and the Kalamazoo River has enough issues of its own to worry about throwing orange powder (yes, it's a secret recipe, but the dye powder is orange to make the river bright green - go figure).
Now, Chicago is a major metropolitan city. But New London, Wisconsin has its own tradition complete with changing the town's name to new Dublin and a spoof on the tradition of Irish wakes.
(NewDublinWi via YouTube)
Here's the description that comes with the video: "The New Dublin Finnegan's Wake has its annual procession in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in New London, Wisconsin. Finnegan's widow purchased the $50 funeral package that also includes a Friday night service..."
I found a funny one in Hot Springs, Arkansas too: A 98 ft. parade; that's the length of the street is happens on.
Now the simple answer to the original question might be, Kalamazoo doesn't have a major Irish population. (Everybody being Irish on St. Paddy's Day doesn't count.) But I have what I think is a more accurate answer. Some of these fun St. Patrick's traditions may remind of you a certain Kalamazoo tradition: The DooDah Parade. Think of all the effort that's gone into forty years of goofing on parades with DooDah. The local St. Patrick's Day is nice, but not much different from any other parade. It might be safer to say we simply put our efforts into Doodah rather than St. Patrick's Day; or maybe the weather is better.