by Denise Drews

This weekend in Buffalo, everyone is Irish. It’s parade time and, boy, I DO LOVE A PARADE!

And Buffalo celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with not one, but two, parades this weekend! Here is some information on both of them.

Saturday, March 13 at noon: The Valley Community Association’s 17th Annual “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade will kick-off at the Valley Community Center, located near the junction of South Park Avenue and Elk Street. This parade retraces the original 1913 parade route, winding through Buffalo’s historic Valley and Old First Ward neighborhoods.

This year, the crowds along South Park Avenue, Smith Street, Elk Street, Hamburg Street, and O’Connell Avenue can expect the biggest “Old Neighborhood” parade yet, topping last year’s count of 60 contingents. There will be something for everyone – Irish dancers, marching bands, floats, clowns, classic cars, radio stations, police and fire department vehicles, unions, dignitaries, family clans, and more.

Following the parade, there will be a grand Irish “Hooley” at the Valley Center that will feature both inside and outside bars, live Irish music by “Blackthorn,” Irish dancers, and plenty of food and refreshments.

Sunday, March 14 at 2 p.m.: The larger of the two parades takes place on Sunday and runs up Delaware Avenue from Buffalo’s art deco City Hall. Each year, thousands of people flock downtown to carry on a Buffalo tradition.

Leading up to 2 p.m., excitement and anticipation fill the air, as enthusiastic crowds await the signal of the Grand Marshal. Then a roar goes up, as bagpipers, local dignitaries, Irish dancers, high school marching bands, Civil War reenactment groups, fire trucks, Irish-American philanthropic organizations, and many others march proudly by.

With Irish tricolor flags lining the parade route and children and adults sitting in lawn chairs along the curb, it’s a fun, colorful scene.

I’ll be on the Taste of Buffalo presented by Tops float, so if you see me, give a Shout Out!

I hop you go out and celebrate this wonderful time of year! After the parades, I always like to go and eat some corned beef and cabbage. Please share your comments on who has the best corned beef in town!

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