Local St. Patrick’s Day Parades Along Highway US-23

People have always loved driving the entire length of Route 66, but more recently other route-oriented events have become popular. For example, a classic car cruise happened last year on Michigan’s Great Lakes shores. Route US-127 through Ohio, Kentucky and other states is well known for its long rummage sale, even spawning imitators around the country. All this got me to thinking: what about holiday celebrations along a single route? I chose US-23 and St. Patrick’s Day to investigate.

Near the north end of US-23, Bay City, Michigan holds their local St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday, March 18 th . It proceeds down Center Avenue beginning at 2:00pm. For a pre-parade event, on Saturday, March 17 th you can party until midnight at the George Walsh Irish Ball, beginning at 6:00pm. Enjoy dinner and dancing at the DoubleTree Hotel, 1 Wenona Park Place. Tickets are $30; call Leslie Walsh at 989-891-9709. Proceeds help pay for the parade! (Just don’t forget to wake up Sunday for that 2:00pm parade!)

Not far away, Flint, Michigan has a St. Patrick’s Day Celebration on Saturday, March 17 th . This “Irish family walk” down Saginaw Street, at about 1:30pm, is followed by a party at the historic and elegant Masonic Temple, 755 S. Saginaw Street. The party begins at 2:00pm, featuring Irish Dancing, live music, a buffet and more for $10. If you’d rather exercise than eat, Flint features The Original St. Patrick’s Day Four Mile Race. It’s also on Saturday, beginning at 6:00pm. For more information about the race, contact Complete Runner at 810-233-8851.

Farther south, Columbus, Ohio hosts their local St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 17 th . The Shamrock Club of Columbus has been holding a parade since 1936. The day begins with a Mass at Holy Cross Church, the first Catholic Church in Columbus, 204 S. Fifth Street, at 9:30am. The Parade will step off at 11:30am on Nationwide Blvd in the Arena District and will end at Veteran’s Memorial at 300 W. Broad Street. The Irish Family Reunion begins there at 1:00pm.

Like Flint, Johnson City, Tennessee holds races on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17 th . They have the unusually named event “Chasing Snakes 10K Run”, commemorating St. Patrick’s legendary elimination of snakes from Ireland. This race starts and ends at St. John’s Episcopal Church, E. Fairview Avenue. The course is certified and proceeds will sponsor the Interfaith Hospitality Network, a network of churches and community agencies around Johnson City.

The last local St. Patrick’s Day Parade along US-23 is in Atlanta, Georgia. Atlanta held its first in 1858. This parade will be on Saturday, March 17 th at 12:00 noon. Step off begins at Peachtree Avenue and Ralph McGill Blvd, and will proceed down Peachtree Avenue toward Woodruff Park. Last year, Ireland’s Consul General was the Grand Marshall. The parade has had over 200 units, which I’m guessing makes it the largest parade on our route!

That’s all I found along US-23. But even if you can’t make it to St. Patrick’s Day on time, there’s an Irish event for you. The Hibernian Irish Festival will be in Toledo, Ohio on August 17-18, 2012. It’s two days of Irish music and food at the stage near The Blarney on Monroe Street in downtown Toledo. Sure it’s not in March, but you’re running late!

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