Today was the 250th St Patrick's Day Parade in NYC, which is quite a remarkable achievement in itself. They love a parade in NYC, but "St Paddy's Day" as they call it has a bit of a Melbourne Cup feel to it: not officially a holiday but seems like most people take the day off and go to the parade then adjourn to the pub, whether or not they are Irish. But it also celebrates the end of winter. today was sunny and "warm" (17C) and the vernal equinox is just 4 days away. we skipped the parade today but last Saturday while driving upstate we did happen upon the SPD parade in Hoosick Falls NY (pop 3436), about 170 miles (260km) north of the city. A "hardscrabble" town reminiscent of Lithgow or Goulburn. But the locals seemed to be having a lot of fun and no doubt enjoyed a couple of Guinesses after the parade.