March 12, 2012
Manhattan, New York City
As the home of the oldest and one of the largest Irish-American communities in the nation, New York City celebrates St. Patrick’s Day with extravagance. The NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade (near Chelsea) is the largest and more impressive parade of its kind in the United States and is, in fact, the largest parade in celebration of the Saint Patrick’s Day holiday in the world.
NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade FeaturesFor more than 250 years, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has transformed the streets of New York City into a massive stage filled with floats, bands and musical groups, elaborately costumed performers, and legions of proudly marching members of cultural heritage associations, trade organizations and religious groups.
The parade typically comprises more than 150,000 marchers, and over two million people come out to watch the procession. Military, firefighting and law enforcement groups play a prominent role in the parade, given that Irish immigrants and their descendants commonly enter these civil service careers.
Members of different emigrant societies and county associations also make up a large portion of the parade, as do other Irish cultural clubs and social organizations. The membership ranks of the emigrant societies and county associations reflect the areas of Ireland from which their ancestors originated.
Marching bands and ethnic musical groups also make their appearance in the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Traditional Celtic dance associations and performance arts groups add gaiety to the annual celebration of Irish heritage.
The Parade Route through New York CityThe U.S. 69th Infantry Regiment always leads the procession along the mile and a half route, which begins at 44th Street and 5th Avenue in Manhattan and proceeds down 5th Avenue through the city to its conclusion at 86th Street . The parade lasts approximately five hours each year, beginning at 11:00 a.m. and ending between 4:30 and 5:00 p.m.
The St. Patrick's Day Parade ScheduleWhile the annual date of St. Patrick’s Day is March 17th, the holiday is a religious one, reflecting the Feast Day of Saint Patrick according to the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church. As such, the date of the parade occasionally changes based on conflicts within that liturgical calendar. When March 17th falls on a Sunday, the parade is held the day prior, and in the past, if March 17th fell within Holy Week due to the date of Easter that year, the parade date was moved outside of Holy Week. More often than not, however, the parade takes place on the actual holiday.
- 2012 NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade – Saturday, March 17, 2012