Milwaukee Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

Milwaukee Saint Patrick’s Day Parade
The city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin hosts one of the longest-running St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States. The Milwaukee Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is one of the two major events dedicated to Irish culture that are held in Milwaukee. The other is Milwaukee Irish Fest.

The first St. Patrick’s Day parade in Milwaukee took place on March 17, 1843. It was organized by the Milwaukee officials in order to have the American Catholic Church to place the archdiocese in the city. Since many of the cardinals in America were Irish, local Catholics thought the parade would help win them over.

The parade took its modern shape in 1967 when the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin took over as the main organizer. The Club is the oldest and largest Irish American organization in Wisconsin known for organizing a number of Irish related activities. The parade has changed its route several times over the years. As of 2016, it is held in downtown Milwaukee.

The Milwaukee Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is preceded by a week-long series of events held across the down. The parade itself takes place on the Saturday prior to Saint Patrick’s Day (March 17), drawing between 40,000 to 80,000 spectators from all over Wisconsin as well as out of state.

Milwaukee’s parade is the largest celebration of Saint Patrick’s Day in Wisconsin. It typically features over a hundred units including several Irish dance schools, numerous marching bands, clowns, drill teams, pipe bands, and Irish organizations from all over the greater Milwaukee area.

Another important event held on the parade day is the annual mass in honor of Saint Patrick followed by a full Irish breakfast. The combination of Gaelic liturgy, pipes and choirs makes it one of the highlights of the Irish community.

A post parade party has been organized by the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin for more than four decades. It is the largest family day event of the Saint Patrick’s season in the state of Wisconsin. The party features diverse entertainment, from traditional Irish dance to pub bands, on several stages. It draws over 1,000 attendees every year.

Milwaukee Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

Photo: Celtic Graphics




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