Mar 2, 2022 - News

Philadelphia St. Patrick's Day Parade to return after 2 years

Caption: St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal Barney Boyce (left) and wife Carmel Boyce during the 2017 parade
St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshal Barney Boyce (left) and his wife Carmel Boyce during the 2017 parade. Photo courtesy of Tom Keenan

Mark your calendars. Philadelphia's St. Patrick's Day Parade comes back from a two-year hiatus on March 13.

Why it matters: The return of the tradition, which has been celebrated in the city since 1771, feels like a taste of normalcy.

  • The 2020 parade was one of the first major events to be canceled because of the pandemic.
  • "We've waited the longest [to celebrate]," Grand Marshal Michael Bradley Jr. said.

Details: The festivities begin at the 9am Commemorative Parade Mass, which will be held at Saint Patrick's Church in Center City.

  • The parade will start on JFK Boulevard between 16th and 20th streets before continuing east on JFK by the north side of City Hall.
  • It then goes left onto Market Street all the way to Front Street before ending at Penn's Landing.

What's new: All previous grand marshals are invited back this year to march.

The intrigue: The theme is the same as it was supposed to be for 2020: 250 years of faith, family, friendship and heritage.

  • Karen Boyce McCollum, the second vice president of the St. Patrick's Day Observance Association, is excited to walk with three generations of her family.
  • "There's tons of people who march in the name of their ancestors who came to Philadelphia," she said. "It encompasses everything the parade is built on."

What to expect: Prepare for crowds. More than 200 organizations are coming on top of regular spectators.

  • "I fully expect the streets of Philadelphia to be filled with people ready to celebrate and move forward with their lives," Bradley said.
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