A blustery, chilly morning kept the crowd small Saturday at the 26th annual Long Beach Irish Heritage Day Parade.

But Donna Fanning, 50, thought the weather was a good fit for the occasion.

"It's a real Irish day," the Long Beach woman said.

"This is beach weather," added her husband, Jerry Duffy, 50, an Irish immigrant who grew up with constant gray skies and drizzle.

Three of the more than 30 entries in the parade canceled in advance because of the weather, said Bernard Petty, chairman of the parade, which is organized by the St. Brendan the Navigator Long Beach division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Petty looked on the bright side. The rain that some had predicted never came.

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"God once again looked out for the Irish," he said.

The sound of bagpipes and drums wafted through the wind that furiously blew the hundreds of Irish and American flags that attendees and parade marchers carried.

The parade route of more than a mile ended at the site of an all-day festival, featuring amusement rides, live music, food and games.

Liz Nachman was selling Long Beach-themed T-shirts, hoodies and beanies, but about two hours into the festival her boxes were still nearly full with merchandise.

"I'll definitely lose money today," said the Long Beach resident, figuring in a $200 vendor's fee.

Laura Martin stood checking Facebook on her smartphone instead of handing customers darts to throw at balloons to win stuffed animals. She had one player in more than two hours, a fraction of the usual throngs.

But Long Beach resident Robert Capofarri and his family were enjoying the event, as they do every year. They love how it brings the city together.

"Everyone here knows everybody," said Capofarri, 56. "You can't walk 10 feet without saying hello."