Last month’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in South Boston unveiled a new deal along the parade route while tradition kept pace at the Convention Center where state Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry, in her second year as host, presided over the annual holiday breakfast where politicians tried to one-up each other over scrambled eggs, sausages, and corned-beef hash and before some 500 guests.
Dorcena Forry opened with a video skit that hit many of the same targets that the pols took shots at later on – snow, the wintry woes of the MBTA and the commuter rail, Boston 2024 and its hiring of former Gov. Deval Patrick’s as a $7,500 per day consultant. Baker, for his part, played along, holding a mock press conference and revealing a MEMA vest underneath his jacket, a wardrobe mainstay for Patrick during the time he spent in the MEMA bunker.
Among the dignitaries at the event were United States Ambassador to Ireland Kevin O’Malley and Joan Burton, TD, Ireland’s deputy prime minister or Tánaiste.
Video skits proved to be the highlight of the three-and-a-half-hour event, with Mayor Martin Walsh’s surrealist video depicting City Hall falling into chaos as the winter storms – and their accompanying press conferences – never let up. House Speaker Robert DeLeo’s video, which depicted the Winthrop Democrat taking Irish lessons from comedian Steve Sweeney, delivered, via Sweeney, some of the most pointed jabs at the speaker.
In addition to the videos, there was a surprise appearance by Patriots owner Robert Kraft, whose jokes were overwhelmed by some of the loudest cheers of the morning as he raised his own space-saver: The Super Bowl trophy.
Vice President Joe Biden phoned in, but his talk proved rambling and awkward, which moved Congressman Stephen Lynch, whose bit was interrupted by the call, to say, “I hope that call wasn’t collect,” as he stepped back up to the microphone.
City Council President Bill Linehan, who skipped last year’s breakfast, was a surprise guest on Sunday, walking onstage as Dorcena Forry, Lynch, and state Rep. Nick Collins of South Boston began to sing “Southie Is My Hometown.”
As the breakfast concluded, parade marchers were moving to the starting line. In his time at the head table, Walsh had thanked the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council, which voted to allow OUTVETS and Boston Pride, two openly LGBT groups, to march in the parade for the first time ever. “The key agreement was this: anyone can march but the route has to be straight,” Walsh joked. He marched later, the first mayor to join the parade in 22 years.
While the effect of winter’s snow limited the route of the parade – it started at Broadway Station and moved straight up Broadway to Farragut Park – organizers expected more than a half million to attend along the way.