As a time-honored South Boston tradition, the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the most exciting events in the entire city. This celebration blends an appreciation for rich Irish culture with a salute to our American armed forces.
If you plan on heading to South Boston this year to join in on the spirited Irish revelry, you need to know where to begin and when to get there. To help you plan accordingly, our team at Nissan 24 have put together this helpful guide.
A Little Bit of History
While St. Patrick’s Day is a famous celebration of all things Irish, the first St. Patrick’s Day parade was not held in Ireland. Rather, it was held in New York City on March 17, 1762.
At the time, it was a somewhat spontaneous event. Irish soldiers who had been serving in the English army wanted to honor their fallen brothers. So, they took to the streets of New York and began marching in solidarity.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade became a New York City tradition, and today garners up to 150,000 attendees every year. However, parades have since spread to Chicago, Philadelphia, Savannah, of course, Boston, garnering tens of thousands of their own attendees.
This Year’s Parade
After an amazing turnout last year, the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council have worked hard to ensure this year’s parade is bigger and better than ever.
Where and When?
The St. Patrick’s Day parade will take place on Sunday, March 19th at 12:00 p.m.. The procession will start at the intersection of West Broadway and Dorchester Ave., and will end at Southampton St. and Dorchester Ave.
Get There Early
Getting a good spot along the parade route can be tough. Many parade goers are claiming their spots long before the festivities even begin. The earlier you arrive that morning, the better position you’ll have.
If driving, plan your parking ahead of time. Many streets around the parade route will be closed and others nearby will be packed. Visit the City of Boston website to learn more about closures and participating garages.
The 2017 Grand Marshal
At every parade, the most coveted title one can hold is that of Grand Marshal. Few are more deserving than this year’s honoree, Dan Magoon, leader of the Massachusetts Fallen Heroes. Fallen Heroes is a non-profit organization that aids veterans returning home from war as well as honoring those that have fallen. Specifically, the organization supports local Gold Star families.
Magoon himself was a soldier who served four years overseas from 2003 to 2007. After an honorable discharge, the Boston native returned home to join the city’s fire department.
In addition to serving in the parade, a banquet will be held in the Grand Marshal’s honor.
Want to Help Out?
For this year’s parade, the committee is expecting attendance to reach around 20,000 people. As you can guess, they’ll need plenty of help. If you’d like to volunteer, head to the St. Patrick’s Day parade website to let organizers know you’re interested. You can also fill out an application for your own float or organization to join the procession.