Friday, March 18, 2011


   St. Patrick's Day is a lively celebration, traditionally observed with parades, music, dancing, Irish food and green beer.  Chances are, there will be a parade near you, as there are parades and celebrations all over the United States on this Irish holiday.  The following are the top 10 of the heap.

Boston, Mass.- They've been partying since 1901 in "Bean Town".  About 850,000 people attend this spirited party.  The city's population is about 16 percent Irish and they celebrate St. Patrick's Day with enthusiasm.

New York City- New York's parade has been celebrated since 1762.  They expect about 2 million people to line the streets of New York for the largest and oldest St. Patrick's parade in the United States.  The huge parade has about 150,000 marchers.  No floats or automobiles allowed.  Plenty of bagpipes and green beer in the city on this Irish event.  As the original St. Patrick's Day Parade in U.S. history, the first event was held in 1762.

Chicago- South Side- The South side parade draws about 325,000 people.  This Irish neighborhood's parade has a lively party atmosphere.

Chicago-Downtown- The event in Chicago has taken place since 1843.  About 300,000 people attend the parade.  Before the parade the famous Chicago River is turned green with the help of some green dye, and a leprechaun or two.  The fantastic dying of the famous Chicago River takes place in the early morning and the parade follows.

Savannah, Georgia- The St. Patrick's Day event has taken place since 1825 and draws a crowd of 400,000.  Local traditions include dying the city's fountains green and eating green grits for breakfast.  The annual parade, one of the oldest in the country, is designated as one of the top 20 special events in the Southeast.

Kansas City, Missouri- This parade attracts about 200,000 spectators.  The parade was first held in 1873 but did not take place for several years.  In 1973, the parade was brought back to life by a group of businessmen trying to help out a pal by drawing a group of marchers to an Irish pub.  The procession turned into a street party, and the parade has grown into one of the largest int he United States.  There is a trip to Ireland to the grand prize winners of the procession, so participants give it their best effort.

San Francisco, California- The oldest and biggest celebration west of the Mississippi.  The parade marches along the trolley tracks.  There is a post parade party for the entire family.  This event draws more than a million people.  It is billed as one of the most fashionable parades in the country.

New London, Wisconsin- Magical leprechauns change the name of this northern town to New Dublin.  A Parade, corned beef and cabbage and Irish music and dancing.  A rowdy reenactment of Finnegan's Wake precedes the parade and festival, the parade is followed by an afternoon of celebrations at Irish Fest.

Dublin, Ohio- One of nine U.S. Cities named Dublin, it has one of the better St. Patrick's Day parties.  130 unites of clowns, floats, bands and lively pre and post parade parties.  The Blarney Bash Tent features Irish music, dancing, drums and pipes.

Hot Springs, Arkansas- Described as what may be the "World's Shortest St. Patrick's Day Parade", by Ripleys, this parade has unique touches including: Elvis look a likes, green fireworks and Irish Belly dancers.