St. Patrick's Day falls on a Sunday this year (the 17th), but the parade in Detroit took place this past Sunday (the 10th). There had been concerns that rain could cancel the parade, with forecasts as close as an hour prior not completely ruling out rain showers. But at 2 p.m., the sun was shining and the St. Patrick's Day parade organized by the United Irish Societies took place along Michigan Avenue in Corktown.
"The weather is perfect," said Justin Langley, a customer advisor at Brooks Lumber across the street from Harwell Park who lives in Corktown. Langley has come to the parade every year for as long as he can remember.
U. S. Rep. Gary Peters (D-Mich.) felt honored to be an honorary marshal at the parade. Peters represents one of the most gerrymandered congressional districts in the country, but he sees positive qualities in his district's rather contrived shape. "It is the first district in history to have the county seats of two counties," Peters explained. "It brings the counties together." Pontiac is in the northernmost part of his district, while Corktown, the Detroit neighborhood where the parade took place, is in the southernmost part.
On Friday, Peters had spoken at the Detroit Athletic Club about the positive impact a welcoming attitude towards immigrants can have on the local economy. The significance of Irish immigrants successfully integrating into American society was not lost on Peters, himself the son of an American soldier and a French woman. "This is an incredible event, a lot of fun, it's great to share a sense of community," Peters said of the parade.
The parade included marching bands like the Detroit Caledonian Pipe Band and the Scottish Society Pipe Band, dance troupes, clown troupes (like the Detroit Fire Department Clown Team), and various floats, including one from Detroit Dog Rescue.