Irish spirit shines through rain, controversy at annual parade

Norfolk, Va. (WAVY) – Political controversy and rain did little to dampen spirits at the annual Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the Ocean View.

“Every year, we have a ball out here,” said John Johnson, who has watched the parade for two decades. “With the kids and everything, that’s what it’s about. It’s for the kids.”

This year, many kids originally scheduled to participate in the parade did not.

At least six Catholic schools pulled out of the parade last week because Governor Terry McAuliffe, who supports marriage for same-sex couples and abortion rights, was chosen to lead the parade.

The Knights of Columbus council that organizes the parade kept McAuliffe as its grand marshal, despite the controversy. The governor spoke to 10 On Your Side Saturday.

“Democracy is great. People are going to have their opinions out there,” McAuliffe said. “Everybody’s here to have a great time, and you know what, I had a fabulous time and I want to thank all of the folks who were out in the streets. [They] couldn’t have been nicer, more appreciative. Makes us proud to be Virginians.”

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