Started in 1983, and originally organized by the Chamber of Commerce and then the City of York, the parade has been an ongoing yearly community event every Saturday before Saint Patrick’s Day (unless Saint Patrick’s Day falls on a Saturday at which time the parade is held on the actual day). After the parade was canceled in 1999, responsibilities fell to the loyal community to keep the tradition going. Since then operations have been taken over by a group of community volunteers who formed the York Saint Patrick’s Day Committee. Since then, the parade has grown dramatically and continues to grow with each passing year.
Come early and enjoy an array of pre-parade entertainments. Bring the kids by Central Market House on 34 W. Philadelphia Street for free arts and crafts in the Rojahn Performance Kitchen, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dancers from the Ni Rian School of Irish Dance will perform periodically between 11 a.m. and noon. Come to Continental Square and see Mel Conrad, who will be drawing free caricatures between 11:15 a.m. and 1:15 p.m. Other activities happening on site include coloring six-foot tabletop coloring pages, chances to win prizes from media partner tents and enjoying live performances by the Lancers Senior Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps. and the Emigsville Band. Stop by Martin Library, at 159 E. Market Street, for an Irish Blessing. From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., enjoy traditional music and dance performed by the dancers at the Broesler School of Irish Dance. In the Cherry Lane Courtyard, between Central Market House and Market Street, stop by for a free blood pressure screening from Patient First and enjoy performances from Oh! Gill’s Irish Dancers between noon and 12:30 p.m. In addition, dancers from the Hooley School of Irish Dance will be performing from noon to 12:30 p.m. at York Emporium, on 343 W. Market Street.
The parade will commence promptly at 1 p.m. sharp and follow a route along Market Street, which will close from Penn to Queen at that time. The parade will travel about historic downtown for an estimated duration of an hour to an hour and a half. Plenty of participants will join the ranks as the parade marches on including Bryan Tate, who has been named Grand Marshall for this year’s parade. Tate serves as Vice President of Philanthropy for the York County Community Foundation. The parade will end its rounds and disband along Market Street between the block of Duke and Queen. Even after the parade ends, the good times continue on! Stay the day and continue to delight in this Pot o’ Gold celebration.
“We will have assorted novelties and commemorative t-shirts at Continental Square,” explained Mary Yeaple of the York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. Popular souvenirs include hats, beads, noisemakers, Irish flags and much more. With many of the businesses in the downtown area participating in the event, several restaurants are even offering special menu items and promotions in connection with the parade. For many vendors, this is the busiest day of the year. Some of the delicious concessions you won’t want to pass up are JR’s Fries, from Ron Jacobs, who also offers other great eats including his award-winning Guinness BBQ. Annette Fisher, of Bair’s Fried Chicken, will be dishing up delicious Guinness Glazed Wings.
You don’t have to be Irish to enjoy a nice, family-oriented Saint Patrick’s Day celebration. It’s been said that everyone loves a parade, and you and your family are sure to love this one! For more information on the York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, visit www.yourksaintpatricksdayparade.org.