San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival

San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival
The city of San Diego, California hosts one of the largest and most famous Saint Patrick’s Day parades in the United States. The San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival was officially founded in 1981 and has since become the largest parade of its kind west of the Mississippi.

The history of San Diego’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade began in 1978 when James Foley and his wife Pat moved to San Diego and opened a pub. When the word got around that the Foleys had been involved in organizing the Hartford St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Connecticut, a group of locals approached them and asked to help organize a parade in San Diego.

San Diego’s first St. Patrick’s Day parade was held in March 1981. Over the years it has grown to become one of the largest Irish themed events in the United States. The main organizer of the parade and festival is the Irish Congress of Southern California (ICSC), a non-profit organization created to promote public appreciation and knowledge of Irish culture and heritage.

The San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Irish Festival are held on the Saturday before to March 17 in Balboa Park. The festival opens at 9:00 am and the parade begins at 10:30 am at Fifth Avenue and Laurel Street. It lasts for two hours and features over 120 units including beautifully decorate floats, marching bands, scout troops, police and fire department units, equestrian units, dancing groups, bagpipe bands, drill teams, antique cars, Irish societies. The Parade Queen in San Diego is called Miss Colleen. She is the winner of the San Diego Miss Colleen Beauty Pageant held prior to the parade.

The parade is followed by a wide range of events and activities for people of all ages. They include live entertainment on two stages in Balboa Park, beer gardens, food stalls with authentic Irish food and drinks, craft vendors, fairground rides, games and contests, dancing, a Celtic Village, face painting, and more. The festival lasts until 6:00 pm, attracting around 30,000 visitors every year.

San Diego St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival

Photo: chrisinphilly5448




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