Revelers worldwide start to mark St. Patrick's Day

  • Bev Kehayes, left, of Greensboro, N.C., gets her homemade hat pinned on her head by her friend Mary Parrish, center, and Sara Farnsworth, right, before Savannah’s 189-year-old St. Patrick’s Day parade, Saturday, March 16, 2013, in Savannah, Ga. St. Patrick's Day falls on March 17, which is Sunday. But a number of cities, including Savannah, New York and Chicago are all holding parades Saturday to take advantage of the full weekend. (AP Photo/Stephen Morton)

NEW YORK — Crowds cheered and bagpipes bellowed as New York City's annual St. Patrick's Day parade kicked off Saturday, and people with a fondness for anything Irish began a weekend of festivities from the Louisiana bayou to Dublin's Parnell Square.

With the holiday itself falling on a Sunday, many celebrations were scheduled instead for Saturday because of religious observances.

In New York, the massive parade, which predates the United States, was led by 750 members of the New York Army National Guard. The 1st Battalion of the 69th Infantry has been marching in the parade since 1851.

Other participants this year include Irish Prime Minister Enda Kenny.

Chicago was preparing for its own big parade and an eye-catching local custom: dyeing the Chicago River green.

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