St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, D.C.

St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, D.C.
Although Saint Patrick’s Day isn’t a legal holiday in most of the United States, a lot of cities host spectacular St. Patrick’s Day parades the weekend before March 17. Of course, the capital of the United States is not an exception. The St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, D.C. is held on the Sunday prior to the holiday.

The first Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Washington, D.C. was organized in 1971 by the Irish American Club. It was a relatively small procession featuring a few hundred participants that marched from Dupont Circle to the statue of Robert Emmet, an Irish nationalist that led a rebellion against British rule.

What started as a leisurely stroll along Massachusetts Avenue has grown to become a full-scale parade with an official route and trophies awarded in a number of categories to participants. Traditionally, the St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, D.C. features beautifully decorated floats, marching bands, pipe bands, dance groups, military, police, fire departments, and more. Most participants and a great portion of spectators wear green to add to the festive atmosphere.

The St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, D.C. is organized by the Parade Committee consisting of several dozen dedicated Washingtonians. Early preparations typically begin in September, half a year before the parade, but the work begins in earnest in January.

One of the most important parts of the planning is choosing the Grand Marshal who leads the procession. Another important figure of Saint Patrick’s Day in Washington D.C. is the Gael of the Year. This honorary title is given to an outstanding person who has made a significant contribution to the community.

Washington’s Irish parade is an event for everyone regardless of their faith and ethnicity. As the saying goes, everyone is Irish on St. Patrick’s Day. The day of the parade is the day when thousands of people come together to celebrate Irish culture and to enjoy one of the most spectacular events of the year in Washington, D.C. The parade is an event free of politics. Elected officials can march in the parade, but those running for office are prohibited to use the event as a campaign site.

When the parade is over, revelers can hit one of the numerous parties held by local pubs. These parties feature Irish musicians, singers and dancers. They are almost as much fun as the parade itself.

St. Patrick’s Parade of Washington, D.C.

Photo: Kim




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