Signs of shamrocks and Celtic music mean it’s time to paint the town green for the annual Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Parade, which takes to the streets Sunday, March 11.
The 38th annual parade steps off at 2 p.m. at South and South Main streets, with participants lining up in their designated spots at 1 p.m.
Eighty groups will march this year, totaling around 1,200 participants, according to Patty Hughes, Wilkes-Barre city special events coordinator. Those participants include five pipe and drum bands, including local favorites the Wyoming Valley and Ceol Mor Pipe and Drum bands, plus Coughlin, Meyers and GAR high school marching bands.
Additional entertainment includes music from the Donnybrook Band and Three Imaginary Boys, as well as dance troupes from Scoil Rince Connemara Dancers, David Blight, Encore School of Dance and the Conservatory of Dance.
Kingston company Express Employment Professionals turned it up a notch this year with the addition of six Clydesdale horses pulling a stage coach, while the NEPA Military Vehicle Collectors Association promises vehicles from World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and Operation Desert Storm.
“Star Wars” fans may rejoice to see their favorite characters marching as the Keystone State Troopers Imperial Outlanders join in on the fun, and those who missed the official Super Bowl parade in Philadelphia can share their Eagles pride as the NEPA Bird Gang walks through downtown Wilkes-Barre.
Grand Marshal Jay Delaney, Wilkes-Barre’s fire chief, leads the festive downtown procession. The parade will travel north down South Main Street, around Public Square, where Delaney and other dignitaries will enter the reviewing stand to see the participants who follow them, and will end at North Main and Union streets.
The day’s celebration of Irish heritage centers around the parade, but the festivities begin much earlier.
On North Washington Street, the celebration at Beer Boys gets going at 9 a.m. with its annual Kegs and Eggs, featuring the tapping of a special firkin of Susquehanna Brewing Co. Mimosa.
Senunas’, 133 N. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, opens early at 9 a.m., with the traditional Hibernian food menu rolling out at 10 a.m. Food specials include Guinness stew, corned beef and Blarney fries in addition to the regular menu.
Bart & Urby’s, 119 S. Main St., Wilkes-Barre, has plenty of traditional Irish food offerings including shepherd’s pie, Reubens and corned beef and cabbage, as well as fish and chips and traditional burgers and sandwiches. Entertainment includes Don Shappelle at noon and the Black Kocks of Echo Creek — which includes members from Breaking Benjamin, Stoney Creek and Death Valley Dreams — around 3:30 p.m.
Following the parade, CrisNics Irish Pub, 189 Barney St., Wilkes-Barre, will have your Irish food needs, including ham and cabbage, corned beef and cabbage, shepherd’s pie, Irish bangers and more. Tori Viccica takes the stage around 5 p.m., while the Wyoming Valley Pipe and Drum Band comes in at 7:45 p.m. to crank up the Celtic pride.
Fiddler’s Green Irish Pub, 259 E. State St., Larksville, remains one of the big stops for the Wyoming Valley Pipe and Drum Band after the parade. The bagpipers arrive at 8:45 p.m., while regular food specials like Irish nachos and Irish Setter Wing Bites will fly out of the kitchen. Pipe and drum bands from the parade will make stops in local bars and restaurants throughout the afternoon and night.
The Renal Race 5K Run and 1-Mile Fun Walk hits the pavement at 10 a.m. on Public Square. Registration for the race begins at 8 a.m. at Genetti’s Hotel and Conference Center on Market Street. The entry fee is $20.
Medals and race gear will be awarded to the top three male and female winners per age group. The first 100 participants in the race will receive free T-shirts. During the race, a Chinese auction, raffle baskets, refreshments and entertainment are held to further benefit research to fight kidney cancer. Visit therenalrace.org for information.
For more information, call the Wilkes-Barre office of special events at 570-208-4149.