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Increased Security Blends Blue With Green At Worcester St. Patrick’s Day Parade

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WORCESTER (CBS) – The early celebration of St. Patrick’s Day was quite different Sunday in Worcester where as at most public events, planning has changed since last year’s marathon bombings in Boston.

Organizers and police tried to balance revelry with security.

Fun for the family is a point of pride for the Worcester St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“A lot of energy, lots of fun, good weather, and it’s St. Patrick’s Day and my name is Thomas Patrick Conroy so it doesn’t get much better than that,”  said Tom Conroy.

The Irish pride is obvious, but this year in all that green, there was some extra blue.

Police patrolled the parade route with bomb-sniffing dogs. (WBZ-TV)

Police patrolled the parade route with bomb-sniffing dogs. (WBZ-TV)

“We had a lot of planning involved in this particular parade. We had a strong police presence out there today,”  said Worcester police Sgt. Kerry Hazelhurst, who was pleased with how things turned out.

The day was a big test for a new member of the department – Django – a bomb-sniffing dog brought to the force last year in response to the Boston Marathon.

Three other K9’s from across the state helped Django check everything from fire trucks to beauty queens.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kim Tunnicliffe reports

Hazelhurst said paradegoers seemed to enjoy seeing the dogs but he stressed they were performing an important job. “It’s just great to have those assets here on parade day,” he said.

Worcester police deployed a lot of other assets to increase security, including a mobile surveillance camera.

But police said they also used undercover officers because they want paradegoers to be able to focus on the fun.

Spectators lined Park Avenue to take in the two-hour march.

These dogs are in the St. Patrick's Day spirit at the Worcester parade. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ)

These dogs are in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit at the Worcester parade. (Kim Tunnicliffe/WBZ)

Danielle Lane was at the parade with her poodles, adorned with Celtic designs. Lane runs Dog Dayz Grooming in Worcester.

“I grew up in this neighborhood and this is part of my heritage. There’s no way I wouldn’t be here today,” she said.

MORE LOCAL NEWS FROM CBS BOSTON

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