Kiss them, they’re Irish! (Photo: Christian Carollo/Say Hello to America)
“Ain’t no party like a Scranton party, ’cause a Scranton party don’t stop.”
That’s a quote made famous by Steve Carell’s character, Michael Scott, in The Office, and when it comes to the Scranton St. Patrick’s Day Parade, this statement couldn’t ring more true.
Every year, thousands of people line the streets of downtown Scranton, Pa., on Parade Day, to take part in a tradition that began in 1862. They’re lining up for good reason: Not only does Scranton have a large Irish population, the city also boasts the fourth-largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade and celebration in the United States.
Sponsored and organized by the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Association of Lackawanna County, the parade has more than 12,000 participants, including bagpipers, Irish step-dancers, high school bands, local musicians, and other Irish groups. The nationally acclaimed parade is always held the weekend before the blessed feast day.
A lucky lad and lassie watching the action go by. (Photo: Christian Carollo/Say Hello to America)
Parade Day always begins with Mass, held at St. Peter’s Cathedral at 10 a.m., and the parade procession starts two hours later. Seemingly all of Scranton and its surrounding area fills the streets with a sea of green, as the parade starts on Wyoming Avenue, near Mulberry Street. The participants wander along the parade route through downtown Scranton, and pass nearly 150,000 spectators, which is why the parade annually ranks in the top four in per capita attendance. Once the parade wraps up, Scrantonites hit the local bars and continue the revelry and celebration, often well into the next day.
I went to college in nearby Clarks Summit, so I am ashamed to admit that I didn’t once attend this iconic parade during my years in school. It wasn’t until a few years after I graduated that I had my first Parade Day experience, and since then, I’ve developed a deep appreciation for the tradition— and the pride that the people of Scranton have in their parade. It’s truly one of the best St. Paddy’s Day parades in the country — one that I think even Michael Scott would be proud of.
Participants in the parade showing off their Irish pride. (Photo: Christian Carollo/Say Hello to America)
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