The popular Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade returns to the streets of Midtown Atlanta next month.
The annual family-friendly parade, an Atlanta favorite for more than 130 years, celebrates the city’s Irish culture and history. Started in 1858 by the Hibernian Benevolent Society, a Catholic and Protestant fraternal organization, the parade is one of the oldest parades of its kind in the U.S. and the longest running event in Atlanta’s history.
This year’s parade steps off at noon on March 14 at the intersection of Peachtree and 16th streets and continues south on Peachtree to the intersection of 5th Street. More than 200,000 people turned out for last year’s parade, and parade organizers are expecting a similar turnout this year.
“The Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Atlanta’s deep Irish roots,” said Paul Gleeson, consul general of Ireland. “Families always enjoy watching and interacting with the many diverse groups that participate in the parade, and we expect this year’s event to be the best yet.”
More than 2,000 dancers, musicians, cheerleaders, clowns and Irish and local dignitaries are expected to march this year. The parade will again feature one of the world’s largest Irish “walking flags,” a large flag carried or, more accurately, worn by dozens of participants.
Regional Irish dance groups will kick off this year’s parade with performance at 11:45 a.m. in front of the dignitaries’ reviewing stand at the intersection of Peachtree and 11th streets.
“The parade pays tribute to Irish heritage and culture in a unique and fun way,” said Dave Fitzgerald, chairman of the Atlanta St. Patrick’s Parade. “Throughout the years, the Irish have helped shape Atlanta into the city it is today, and this annual parade is a fitting way to pay tribute to those men and women.”
This year, the parade will also include the famed Wells Fargo stagecoach, which has represented the company for more than 160 years. Among the stagecoach’s 13,000 appearances in all 48 contiguous states are President Nixon’s Inauguration Parade and the Rose Parade.
A new addition this year is a pre-parade 5K run/walk through Midtown. The race kicks off at 10 a.m. and starts at the intersection of 12th and Juniper streets, and the men’s race and women’s race winners will join the parade on a special float.
For more information and a detailed route map of this year’s parade, visit www.atlantastpats.com.