Francis Michael, of Davenport, at the 31st annual CASI St. Patrick's Day Race in Davenport, Iowa Saturday March 16, 2013. (Jeff Cook/QUAD-CITY TIMES)


Even the worst vantage point to watch Saturday’s St. Patrick Society, Quad-Cities, Grand Parade had its advantages. Midway across the Centennial Bridge at its highest point offers cold that would chill a leprechaun to its Irish bones, but ...

“The only good thing is they have been generous to the little one,” said Bonnie Bicknese, of her granddaughter, 5-year-old Sidney.

Sidney, watching the parade with grandmother and grandfather, Bill Bicknese, could brag of quite a haul of candy, beads and other treasures offered by walkers in the parade. The middle of Centennial Bridge also can be considered the halfway point of the bi-state parade.

The Bettendorf threesome were waiting for Sidney’s mother and brother, Becca and Riley Bicknese, to pass by.

They saw Elvis impersonators, semi-pro football players, rugby teams and Irish families, even vikings from the Sons of Norway among the nearly 90 entrants to the 28th Grand Parade.

“The Norwegians told us we must be from Norway if we’re watching from the bridge,” Bill Bicknese said.

Finally, the group with their family was in sight, unfortunately among the parade’s final groups.

“As soon as we see our daughter, we’re out of here,” Bonnie Bicknese said.

Like the Bickneses, Rick Eicher of LeClaire had never walked up the Centennial Bridge. He’s lived in the Quad-Cities 45 years. He and Diane Skiles of LeClaire decided to walk up the bridge to watch the parade with his three grandsons.

“It would be beautiful last year,” Eicher said. “This year is a little breezy.”

Last year was more Memorial Day than St. Patrick’s Day, with a temperature of near 80 degrees during the parade. This year, the temperature was closer to 35 degrees.

Skiles was bundled up with a fur coat and gloves as the boys ran along the bridge’s walkway.

It is not so bad,” she said, admiring the Mississippi River view. “We can hang.”

Along the 3rd Street parade route in Davenport, hundreds lined the street, some at least an hour and a half before the parade would come off the Centennial Bridge. Among the parade-goers was Mayor Bill Gluba, fortifying his walk in the parade with a green beer.

In front of the Carriage Haus, Ray Davis of Springfield, Ill., reported that business was brisk for St. Patrick’s Day souvenirs, especially stocking caps and gloves, noting he had only three pairs left.

“It was hot last year,” he said. “It is chilly this year.”

West on 3rd Street, near Scott Street, Sue Soots of Davenport wasn’t reporting such good luck selling Girl Scout cookies, saying last year, with better weather, sales were more brisk.