St. Patrick's Day Parade

The 2012 St. Patrick’s Day parade, sponsored by Downtown Washington Inc., took place Friday afternoon, March 16.

Downtown Washington is going green this weekend with a St. Patrick’s Day parade this Saturday beginning at 11 a.m.

This is the first year for the parade to be held on a weekend, according to Aimee Frey, event coordinator for Downtown Washington Inc., parade sponsor.

“In the past, the St. Pat’s parade has been held during the week on or near the actual holiday, but we decided we wanted to expand it and make it more like our Holiday Parade of Lights,” she said. “We have about 20 entries signed up and still hope to get a few more.”

Frey said most of the entries are businesses and include a few floats and a lot of walking groups, many of whom will pass out candy and beads to spectators.

“The Washington High School Blue Jay mascot will participate and the Fitzgerald family of Labadie is providing a leprechaun to help lead the parade,” she said.

Additionally, Pepsi will have its Sundrop car in the parade and representatives of the Washington dog park will participate, along with their dogs.

“McGruff the Crime Dog also will be there and the Washington Academy of Music violin students will walk and play Irish fiddle tunes,” Frey said.

“With this being the first year for a Saturday parade we really didn’t know what to expect, but I’m pleased with the number of entries and it’s something we hope to build on and grow each year,” she added. “Green is a must and that’s what we’ve told all of the groups, and I hope all of the parade watchers are decked out in green too.”

The parade will begin at the Main and Cedar streets parking lot. The route will be the same as the Holiday Parade of Lights.

The parade will travel south on Cedar to Fifth Street; east on Fifth to Elm Street; north on Elm to Second Street; east on Second to Jefferson Street; north on Jefferson to Main Street; and then west on Main, ending at the Main and Cedar parking lots.

Frey said the parade was first started and sponsored by St. Francis Borgia Parish. The downtown group took over the event several years ago at the church’s request.

This year’s date was chosen as not to conflict with the large St. Patrick’s Day parade held in downtown St. Louis. That parade will take place Saturday, March 16.

Frey encourages people to come out and get in on the fun.

“The weather forecast looks good for Saturday with much warmer temperatures so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a good day,” she said. “Cowan’s Restaurant also will be serving corned beef and cabbage Saturday to coincide with the parade.”

For more information, people may call the downtown office, 636-239-1743.