Parade brings out Irish in everyone

By KALEA hall


Market Street will be a sea of green next Sunday for the day when everyone is Irish.

The Mahoning Valley St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been a staple in the Valley for the past 36 years and once again will bring thousands to show “Celtic Price” with Youngstown Mayor John A. McNally as the grand marshal.

“It is a great parade,” McNally said. “It has tons of participants. Everyone comes out and is Irish for at least that day.”

The parade started when radio broadcaster Pete Gabriel of WKBN decided Youngstown should have a parade as other cities do, so people lined up in downtown Youngstown and had a parade.

“It was such a success that it grew and grew and grew,” said Joyce Kale-Pesta, president of the parade committee.

The parade starts at 1 p.m. on McClurg Road and travels north on Market Street to Southwoods Place.

There are 147 entries in the parade, with 2,035 people scheduled to walk in it as of Friday. Those entries include bands, novelties, local politicians, pipers, emergency vehicles, dogs, llamas, horses and the Boardman High School band, which will lead the parade with the Shamrock balloon. This is the first time in 22 years that the band has been able to participate.

“We are very excited to have them,” Kale-Pesta said.

To prepare for the parade, Boardman Township has a meeting of department heads. The detective division volunteers to patrol the parade, and the road department sets up the barricades for the two-hour procession.

“We have done it for so many years, we have it down to a science now,” said Jason Loree, township administrator.

McNally said his role in the parade is to wave and pass out candy to the thousands of parade attendees.

“I was very happy when I got the call [to be grand marshal],” McNally said. “It is a parade I participated in for a number of years as an elected official.”

McNally just so happens to be “strong, strong 90-percent Irish.”

Mike Timlin was selected to be the recipient of the Ockerman Award. Timlin has been a supporter of the parade since 1999 and also has served as the parade’s grand marshal in the past. He owns Timlin Plumbing in downtown Youngstown.

The general manager of 21 WFMJ-TV, Jack Grdic, received the Lord Mayor of Kilkenny award. Grdic is in his 21st year at WFMJ. He started out as an intern and worked in nearly every department.

He oversees the station operations, sales, programming and distribution. He is a member of the Boardman High School Hall of Fame and lives in Canfield with his family.

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