PITTSBURGH – Vice President Joe Biden joined hundreds of thousands of people who turned out Saturday to enjoy Pittsburgh's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.
The parade featured over 23,000 participants from Pittsburgh-area marching bands, politicians and a host of Irish-heritage groups.
Biden spent part of his trip campaigning ahead of November’s election and part of his time enjoying himself.
“This was the greatest day ever to have him here,” Biden supporter Loucher Slepski said. “That was the best experience of my life to see him in person.”
Lots of supporters cheered and offered handshakes as Biden walked through Grant Street, but as he made his way onto Stanwix Street, the warm reception faded and boos could be heard.
In addition to walking in the parade, Biden met with Sen. Bob Casey to discuss options on saving the 911th base.
Officials from Casey’s office said the meeting went well.
The parade itself began at 10 a.m. Saturday, with the route stretching from the intersection of Liberty Avenue and 11th Street (Greyhound Bus Station), to the review stand located Downtown on the Boulevard of the Allies at Stanwix Street.
The event celebrates Pittsburgh's Irish heritage and normally serves as a kickoff to a weeklong St. Patrick's Day observances.
The parade has enjoyed a 142-year history in the city, having occurred nonstop since 1950. Many Pittsburghers remember that not even a blizzard in 1993 was able to keep Pittsburgh's Irish from marching on.
According to U.S. Census data, more Pittsburghers claim Irish heritage than any other ethnic group in a region known as a "melting pot" of ethnicity.
Event officials have said that Pittsburgh's is the second-largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the United States, behind New York City.
This year’s St. Patrick's Day Parade featured nearly 200 marching units, including 18 bands, floats, several police, fire and emergency service agencies, along with many groups from Pittsburgh's Irish and other ethnic communities.