City prepares for St. Patrick’s day
March 7, 2017
Filed under FEATURES
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Take a walk down Wood Street or through Market Square and you will find students and adults bracing the cold. As the season transitions from winter to spring, a sea of green will flood Pittsburgh for the celebration of Saint Patrick.
On March 11, the city will host its 147th St. Patrick’s Day Parade. According to the parade’s official Facebook page, it is the second largest of its kind in the world.
“No one-parade entry is what brings people downtown,” Tim O’Brien, the public relations director for the parade said. “It’s Pittsburghers loving to be with other Pittsburghers to have fun.”
Produced by the Irish Society for Education & Charity, the organization is preparing for another year of excitement with festivities beginning at 10 a.m.
According to the parade website, an estimated 23,000 people walk the parade route, running from the Greyhound Bus Station to Point Park’s campus. Every year, an estimated 200 different organizations participate in the march, including police units, floats and school bands.
Crowds often flood to Market Square, where food vendors, face painters and Irish dancers await.
Jane Griffith, the official parade organizer, said the parade will feature the same route that was designed and used since 2010. The parade itself has run continuously every year since 1950.
On March 13, 1993, the St. Patrick’s Day blizzard was one of the worst snowstorms to hit the Pittsburgh area. According to the National Weather Service, 23.6 inches of snow fell, making it the single-most snow in one day in the history of Pittsburgh. Despite the snowstorm, the parade continued.
Over the years, the parade has averaged 200,000 spectators. However, last year’s parade had one of its largest turnouts, bringing in an estimated 300,000 people from every part of the city and every heritage.
O’Brien believes that events like the parade that draw such large crowds shows not only how diverse Pittsburgh is, but how we come together and engage with different heritages.
“I think Pittsburgh has more a sense of connectedness than most other cities do,” O’Brien said. “We like each other, we like to be with each other to have fun and that’s why so many large-scale events do so well in Pittsburgh.”
Various road closures will be introduced before the parade to prepare drivers and attendees for possible delays. The committee works directly with Pittsburgh Police to ensure that the event is safe and maintain its family-friendly atmosphere.
“We try to make it entertaining as we work very closely with the safety committee, Pittsburgh Police and Pittsburgh Fire Department,” Griffith said. “We have a very good relationship.”
From Pittsburgh car dealership Cochran sponsoring the parade cars, to the radio station 100.7 Star Pittsburgh playing music in Market Square, the parade reminds spectators that the parade is, and always will be, about Pittsburgh.
“We’ve got a lot of new acts that are going to be real-crowd pleasers,” Griffith said. “I think a lot of people are going to like them.”