Downtown Raleigh turns green Saturday March 16th as the Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival takes place. The parade begins at noon at the south end of Fayetteville Street and winds to a finish at Moore Square.
According to Diane Enright, head of public relations for the parade, Raleigh's largest parade will have close to 4000 marchers.
Military, marching bands, bag pipes, floats, Irish dancers and more comprise the parade which has seen attendance grow over the past several years. Organizers predict if the weather is good and with the parade and festival taking place on St. Patrick's day weekend, attendance may reach 60,000.
The theme is "It is Easy to be Green in 2013."
Parade organizers are excited about this year's Grand Marshal. Past parade committee chairman Frank Mellage is the 2013 Grand Marshal. Mellage headed the committee for 19 years. His hard work and dedication played an integral part in developing and making the annual event the success it is today.
In addition to the parade's Grand Marshal, Madison Meaghar, the 2013 Rose of Raleigh will be on hand to celebrate.
While limited street parking can be found, the best strategy for parade viewing is to park in one of the many public parking facilities and bring a blanket or chair. Fayetteville street is a great place to sit on the curb and watch however, a bit of advice from Enright is to view the parade on the north end of Fayettville Street on the state capital grounds. It's here on the grassy hill parade-goers get an ideal vantage point to see the procession.
The merriment doesn't end when the marching stops. Plenty of family fun is in store in addition to the parade. Moore Square is where the "Wearin’ O’ the Green" festivities continue.
Childrens activities await on "Leprechaun Lane." Kids can do crafts with the folks from the Scrap Exchange or climb a rock wall. Laser tag, a bounce house, a kids train and more add to the enjoyment for youngsters.
Artisans and a variety of vendors will be on hand in the "Irish Village" and there will be plenty of tasty treats and beverages.
The festival at Moore Square runs from 10:00 am until 5:30 pm with live music and entertainment continuing throughout the day. Featured performers include; traditional Irish and Scottish dancers, musicians as well as the headliner, Celtic rock band, Brynmor.
Raleigh's Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival is a fun tradition celebrating over 200 years of Irish-Scottish heritage in North Carolina. It's a day where all are encouraged to put on something green and come downtown.
As Enright states, "The Raleigh parade is a celebration for all ethnic groups and cultures. It's a wonderful, entertaining, fun-filled family event.”