Local Activities | March 9, 2016
St. Patrick’s Day is Thursday, March 17th. The day was dedicated as a Saint’s Day to recognize the anniversary of the death of the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick. The Irish have observed St. Patrick’s Day as a religious holiday with solemn trips to church since the 9th or 10th century, as the day lands in the middle of Lenten season. As opposed to the celebrations in the United States, St. Patrick’s Day is a relatively somber holiday in Ireland. After the Irish began immigrating to the United States, they organized parades and other events on March 17th as a means of showing pride for their country. The first St. Patrick’s Day parade took place in New York in the 1760s. Today, St. Patrick’s Day is an international festival celebrating Irish heritage with parades, dancing, food and music.
There are more than 100 parades held in cities around the world to honor St. Patrick’s Day. The largest parades in the United States are held in New York City, Boston, Chicago and Savannah. New York City’s parade is the largest with over 150,000 participants and over 3 million spectators. Celebrants will be taking part in parades, events and celebrations starting this weekend throughout the United States.
The Washington D.C., Baltimore and Northern Virginia areas have many great ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. Since St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Thursday, many events are taking place during the weekend of March 12th and 13th. Some cities in the Washington D.C. and Baltimore areas, like Alexandria, Virginia and Annapolis, Maryland held their St. Patrick’s Day parades during the first weekend in March.
The Washington, D.C. area holds many St. Patrick’s Day celebrations this weekend through March 17th. The city of Manassas holds their St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 12th at 11 am. The parade will go on rain or shine, and will feature Irish dance troupes, pipe and drum corps, and local organizations. RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. hosts “America’s Largest St. Paddy’s Day Festival,” Shamrockfest , on Saturday, Marcy 12th. This all-day music and food event features over 30 bands, entertainment and DJs on five stages. There are also midway rides and games, strolling entertainment, Irish vendors in the Irish Village, along with food and beverages. The Washington, D.C. St. Patrick’s Day Parade takes place on Sunday, March 13th. The two and half hour parade starts at noon on Constitution Avenue and marches down 7th Street to 17th Street NW. The parade includes floats, marching bands, pipe and drum corps, Irish dancers, military and police and fire departments. Gaithersburg, Maryland hosts the Gaithersburg St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 12th with dozens of participating groups including Irish dancers, pipe bands, equestrian units, clowns and fire trucks.
There are many ways to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in the Baltimore Area. Baltimore’s Waterfront Partnership sponsors The 5th Annual Shamrock Shindig in Emmet Park on Sunday, March 13th. The event features live music, food trucks, family fun and strolling entertainment. The party leads up to the big parade in Baltimore. Baltimore’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Sunday March 13th. The parade starts at 2pm at the Washington Monument. The parade route goes down Charles Street and continues to Pratt Street and Market Place. The parade includes many Irish organizations, pipe bands, dancers, floats, marching bands, community officials and much more. There is also the Shamrock 5K race that immediately precedes the parade with a 1:15 pm start time.
No matter how you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day starting this weekend through March 17th, enjoy, have fun and be safe! Slainte!
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