FORT WAYNE – Lindsay Worrel of Fort Wayne and Anna Bagwell of Indianapolis, both 36, were wearing multi-green tutus, bright-green T-shirts and green-and-white bumblebee-striped leg warmers accented with green Mardi Gras beads and shamrock stickers on their cheeks.
And both looked totally normal.
So did Kurt Cantwell, 33, of Auburn, wearing a green pleated kilt. And Missy Mante, 43, of Fort Wayne, who had a green moustache pin attached to her shoulder.
That meant only one thing: St. Patrick’s Day’s Get Green Fest had arrived in Fort Wayne.
Hundreds turned out early Saturday for the 5-K(ilt) Run/Walk through the Rivergreenway – yes, it’s called that every day of the year – and then watched as city firefighters turned on their hoses for the annual one-day greening of the St. Marys River in honor of St. Patrick.
That would glow in the dark, buddy, opined Kevin Zelt of Fort Wayne as firefighter Jason Fleming maneuvered the hose spewing fluorescent green fluid from the east side of the Wells Street pedestrian bridge.
Flemming said he has been participating in the Irish-tinged tradition hosted by the city’s firefighters for seven years.
But he didn’t get the chance to answer when asked if he had any tips for future hose holders.
Yeah, just don’t point it at yourself, piped up Bob Mills of Fort Wayne, standing nearby.
Despite that potential hazard, Flemming said he enjoys the opportunity to get out into the community on an occasion that doesn’t have the tragic overtones of a house or business fire.
Just getting out here with everybody coming out to celebrate and have a good time is great, he said.
After the greening, spectators stepped into a red-and-white-striped tent to watch the area’s strongmen (and women) try to lift barbells, sometimes bearing their own weight over their heads. Or they dropped into a white tent nearby, where they lifted glasses filled with green beer, even though it was, oh, barely 11 a.m.
Cantwell, a runner, attended with his runner wife, Heather, 30, in a purplish kilt and his runner friend, Ben Slater, 30, of Fort Wayne, in a gray plaid flannel kilt.
They wore homemade kilts just to be festive, Kurt Cantwell said.
We were more excited when we heard it was going to be in the 40s, added Heather Cantwell, calling the chilly weather, with mist and fog that seemed imported from the Emerald Isle itself, perfect for running.
It was fun, a lot of camaraderie, her husband said of the race, noting the group was heading to the beer tent for some more fun.
We can carbo load, he said. We’ve burned those calories already.