Bundle up: The Mahoning Valley St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Sunday
By Jordyn Grzelewski
It’s time to break out your St. Patrick’s Day finest – preferably something warm.
The 39th annual Mahoning Valley St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday, and it’s going to be a chilly one.
That doesn’t stop thousands of people from flocking to the annual event, which typically draws more than 5,000 people even when the weather doesn’t quite cooperate.
“In the Valley, we are used to cold weather in the winter months. Just dress properly, like you’re going to a football game, and come on out,” said parade Director Casey Malone. “It doesn’t stop our entries from coming out. As long as it’s dry, it’ll be a really good parade.”
The forecast does predict dry weather, with a high of 30 degrees.
The parade begins on Market Street at McClurg Road, then proceeds 1.5 miles down Market to Southwoods Place.
In addition to the annual attractions such as the Boardman Spartan Marching Band and themed floats, this year’s parade will have some new features as well. The U.S. Navy Band will participate in the parade, and the Owens Construction BMX Stunt Team will perform at 1 p.m. at the reviewing stand.
“They are going to break a world record,” said Malone. “One of the riders is going to do a double flip on his BMX bike over a McLaren, which is a pretty rare sports car. ... That’s going to be pretty cool stuff.”
The theme of this year’s event is “May the Irish be with you.” Trophies for Best of Parade and Best Irish Theme will be awarded, as will awards for Best Themed Float, Best Band, Best Drum Line, Best Novelty Unit and Best Color Guard.
Those awards are handed out at the post-parade party at the Operating Engineers hall on McClurg Road. The public is invited to attend the after party, which will feature live music and refreshments.
Some of the novelty units include the Aut Mori Grotto Clowns, the Capt. Thomas W. Patton Camp 2021 Sons of the Confederate Veterans, the Lucky Llamas 4-H Club, the Mahoning Valley Olde Car Club, the Beaver Creek Horseman’s Association, the Struthers Little Wildcats, and the Youngstown Phantoms Hockey Team, according to a parade news release.
Approximately 150 units will be part of the procession.
Each year, the parade honors four people with top honors: Grand Marshal, Lord Mayor of Kilkenny, the Ockerman Award, and the Cleary Award. The 2017 honorees are Edward J. Reese, Kevin McGuire, Bob Hankey, and Sharon Sabatka, respectively.
The Mahoning Valley St. Patrick’s Day Parade is sponsored by the Mahoning Valley Irish Organizations, The Vindicator, and 21 WFMJ-TV.
Malone reminded spectators to get to their places a little early, as Market Street gets shut down about 12:30 p.m.
“Don’t forget to set your clocks,” she said.