Buffalo’s St. Patrick’s Day parades
blog by S.J. Velasquez • March 15, 2012 @ 7:00am
It’s the only weekend when it’s acceptable to wear every green garment in your closet at the same time: St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
On St. Patrick’s Day, Saturday, hit up the “Old Neighborhood” for parade number one, and on Sunday, head downtown for to round out a weekend full of blarney at the city’s second parade.
As per tradition, Buffalo’s Irish dance troupes, marching bands, public servants and more will march together in remembrance of Ireland’s patron saint.
Buffalo’s Old Neighborhood St. Patrick’s Day Parade - noon Saturday
Now in its 19th year, the Old Neighborhood parade has become a favorite for families looking for a smaller event a little closer to home—which, for many attendees, is South Buffalo. The Valley and Buffalo’s Old First Ward make up a traditionally Irish community where man Irish immigrants settled upon arriving in Buffalo.
This small-scale community parade begins at noon at the Valley Community Center, 93 Leddy St., Buffalo. The 2012 grand marshal is Mary Ellen Kearns Sumbrum.
The Old Neighborhood parade is a throwback to Buffalo’s original Old First Ward Paddy’s Day parade held in 1916. Popular as the annual celebration was, it faded away after a handful of successful years. In the 1940s, a brand new parade was introduced in downtown Buffalo.
Buffalo St. Patrick’s Day Parade - 2 p.m. Sunday
According to buffalostpatricksdayparade.com, the United Irish American Association has organized this parade since the 1940s. After the original parade tradition fizzled, New York State Senator Robert C. Lacey formed a committee to reintroduce a St. Patrick’s Day parade to Buffalo. This time, though, the parade would take place in the city’s downtown area. That tradition carries on to this day.
This year’s grand marshal is Patrick Plunkett. The parade is in memory of Catherine M. O’Brien, who will be recognized at an annual pre-parade mass, 10:30 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Cathedral. The parade kicks off at 2 p.m. and travels north on Delaware Avenue.