Believe it or not, the Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade is bigger than Boston's. It's considered the second largest St. Patrick's parade on the East Coast, following only New York City's, it brings 400,000 attendees to the streets of this town in the western part of the state, with more than 30 marching bands and a variety of other performers including bagpipe bnds, Mummers, cheerleaders, Melha Shrine clowns, motorcyclists and stunt riders.
This year's parade takes place on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, at noon, and among the honorees will be authorl Doris Kearns Goodwin of Lincoln, Mass., recipient of the John F. Kennedy Awrd presented to an American of Irish descent who has distinguished themselves in their chosen field or profession. Goodwin, a renowned political commentator and Pulitzer Prize winner, is the author of many books including "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln," which became the basis for the acclaimed 2012 film "Lincoln."
The day before the parade, on Saturday, March 16, the annual St. Patrick's Road Race will take place, with approximately 6000 runners on the 10k course through some of the hilliest terrains in the city.
The parade generates a significant amount of money in local economic activity. In 2011, that figure was $20,507,349.
And while the city of Boston cannot claim the largest St. Patrick's parade, they will begin their 8th annual Winter Restaurant Week Boston on the day of the holiday, Sunday, going through March 22 and, for good measure, continuing a second week from March 24 through March 29.
Two-course lunches during these weeks as certain restaurants will cost $15.13; three-course lunches $20.13 and three-course dinners for #38.13, excluding beverages, tx and gratuity.
Diners booking for gourmet meals at value prices can go online to view all restaurants, peruse menus and make reservations on the official website, BostonUSA.com/RestaurantWeek. A large range of restaurants, from culinary hot spots, nationally known establishments, and local chef-driven bistros, is part of the week's bargains.
"March is a great time to visit Boston because Restaurant Week can be combined with a Celtics or Bruins game, a concert, a theater performance or shopping," said Patrick B. Moscaritolo, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitor's Bureau.
Restaurant Week gives back to the community by including a Charitable Partner. First Night, a local nonprofit, will be part of the benefits from Restaurant Week this year.
the GBCVB and American Express will donate $5000 to the nonprofit, and participating restaurants have all donated $100 gift certificates to be auctioned off at www.RWBauction.com, live, on March 18, with all net proceeds benefitting First Night.
Restaurant Week Boston is sponsored and presented by founding partners GBCVB and American Express, with additional sponsors including Greater Media, Inc, radio stations MAGIC 106.7 (WMIX), Radio 92.9, 105.7 (WROR, Country 102.5 (WKLB) and 96.9 (WTKK).