Mar 10, 2024 - News

Boston's St. Patrick's Day parade through the years

Sen. Edward Kennedy broke away from the snowy 1964 parade to greet children along the route.

Photo: Bettmann via Getty Images

South Boston has been ground zero for Boston's annual celebration of Irish heritage since 1901.

  • Here's a look at some standout moments from the last 123 years.

In the photo above, Sen. Edward Kennedy broke away from the snowy 1964 parade to greet children along the route.

The Boston Police Department's Mounted Police Unit comes up East Broadway in the early 20th century during the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade.
BPD's Mounted Police Unit comes up East Broadway. Photo: Ellis Herewig/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In 1974, eight Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales pulled a red beer wagon, which can be seen at the top of the frame, through the streets of South Boston accompanied by local mounted police in the foreground.

A man looks on at the parade, holding a sign that says "Stop the hate!" during the St. Patrick's Day parade in Boston. A group of gay people walked in the parade despite organizers' wishes.
Photo: Evan Richman/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

The 1993 parade had to be postponed for two weeks, finally taking to Southie's streets March 28.

  • It was the second year a group of gay Irish Americans marched in the parade against organizers' wishes and under the protection of a court order.
  • Onlooker Brandon Krapes supported gay marchers with a pro-peace sign while some parade attendees shouted obscenities and slurs.
Congressman Seth Moulton accompanied OutVets in 2015.
Congressman Seth Moulton accompanied OutVets in 2015. Photo: Dina Rudick/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

In 2015, parade organizers allowed the LGBTQ veterans group OutVets to march for the first time.

  • Politicians who had boycotted the parade for years because of organizers' anti-LGBTQ stance returned to the route and the parade resumed its role as the city's highest-profile St. Patrick's Day event.
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