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Posted: 1:46 PM- There were the Irish dancers, Irish wolfhounds and of course, bands with bagpipes playing Irish music. But in the St. Patrick's Day Parade in downtown Salt Lake City, there always are plenty who just want to wear silly green hats and march and revel in Irish style.

And that's the key to how the procession, with its 122 entries, has grown in its 29th year to what organizers bill as Utah's second-largest parade.

"Anyone can be in the parade or just come and enjoy it - we take everybody," said Greg Neville, a second-generation Irishman who co-chaired the parade on Saturday. "Everybody can be Irish."

In fact, a good portion of the parade these days are people simply playing the part by dying their hair green, or donning green wigs or dressing in as much of the hue as possible.

The parade, sponsored by the Hibernian Society of Utah, started at the corner of 200 North and 400 West and wound its way down Rio Grande Street through The Gateway shopping center.

The celebration continued at the siamsa (shame-sa), or post-parade party, at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church.

"It really shows how diverse we really are as a city now," said parade-goer Marc Hoenig of Salt Lake City, as he and his sons, ages 8 and 10, watched a bagpipe band belt out a tune. "You've got everybody out here today."

Along with those who are just Irish for a day - or two - there are plenty who really do have Irish in their blood, like Glenn Eurick of Salt Lake City, who still has family living in Limerick.

"For me, this parade is the closest thing I can get to home," he said.

Eurick and his daughter were among dozens of people proudly displaying flags, banners or signs of their clans. They were joined by the Forsyths, the MacGregors, the Kerrs, the Gallaghers, the Ulsters, the Dohertys and so on.

Parade organizer Neville said the parade started out nearly three decades ago as just a tiny march.

"But then we got to the point where people realized we weren't just a bunch of crazy Irishmen putting on a parade in the middle of winter," he said. "It just kept growing every year."

Wearing his Hibernian of the Year sash, Joe Brown said part of the parade's success is its timing. Many other parades are held later in the spring or in the summer months.

"It really gets the city going and brings people outside, especially those who are going stir crazy from the winter," he said.

Rev. Pat Carley of St. Joseph of the Worker Catholic Church in West Jordan, who hosted over the weekend a group of teen-agers from County Tipperary in Ireland, said another factor that sets Saturday's parade and celebration apart from all others is the self-deprecating humor.

"It's a tongue-in-cheek parade," he said. "It's a parade for laughter and fun. We don't take ourselves too seriously."