It’s almost time for one of Cleveland’s longest-running free events: the St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year’s edition, the 177th, kicks off at 2:04 p.m. Sunday at East 18th Street and Superior Avenue and ends approximately three hours later at Rockwell Avenue and Ontario Street. An insider’s tip says the best viewing area is on Superior between East 9th and 12th streets. But if everyone finds out about it, would the view still be as good?
The 2019 parade’s theme is Irish Churches of the Diocese of Cleveland. The diocese stretches well beyond Cleveland proper, but the city has two St. Patrick parishes, a St. Malachi and a St. Colman, for starters.
The parade, as is customary, will feature Irish dancers, wolfhounds and politicians, bagpipers and cute kids. Military and first responders will march, as will members of the East Side and West Side Irish American clubs. Maire Madigan (pictured here), Glenna Mulligan, MaE (it stands for "Margaret and Ellen") Hart, Killian’s Irish Red and Katie O’Dorable from Gaelic Glen Alpacas in Perrysville, a personal favorite, will be there, along with the University Circle Mounted Unit and the Irish Setter Club.
Weather conditions are anybody’s guess, but crowds turn out by the thousands for the parade regardless of temperature. With that and the link between this holiday and beer in mind, I recommend not trying to drive downtown. The parade means lots of road closures, too. Your best bet is to take RTA. Get an all-day pass for $5.50 and use it for unlimited trips on buses or the Rapid until 3 a.m. Monday. If you’re not ready to go home by then, I don’t know what to tell you.
A recent statistic says 13 percent of Cuyahoga County’s population has Irish roots. But on this one day, that stat temporarily swells. This year’s parade also will include the Cleveland Asian Festival and Polka Time Ohio.
Everybody’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.