Sacramentans will celebrate the 21st annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade at 1 p.m. Saturday, March 18, the day after the actual holiday. Think of it as a way to stretch the celebration that you might have started on Friday, March 17.
New York City’s famed St. Patrick’s Day Parade is on the holiday itself, but Sacramento isn’t the only U.S. city to extend the celebration to another day. The annual parade in South Boston is Sunday, March 19, and none of Chicago’s three St. Patrick’s Day parades is on Friday.
“I have been around parades most of my career in some form or another, and it always is surprising to me the different reasons why people like parades,” said Brooksie Hughes, district director for Old Sacramento with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership. “I mean, people just like parades. It doesn’t matter what you parade down the street sometimes. They just really like the celebration of procession.”
The St. Patrick’s parade in Old Sacramento is one of several events celebrating the heritage of the Emerald Isle in the greater Sacramento region. Bar crawls and musical events are scheduled Friday through Sunday around the region.
The holiday originated as a religious observation of the day Ireland’s patron saint died in the fifth century. By the 1600s, it had become a celebration of Irish heritage and later spread to the U.S. with Irish immigrants.
So far, there are 51 groups participating in the Sacramento parade, which kicks off on Front Street at Neasham Circle and winds through Old Sacramento. It will disrupt traffic in the area.
The groups tentatively scheduled include Sacramento Irish Folk Dance, the Shamrock Club of Sacramento, the Scottish Military Society Color Guard, McKeever School of Irish Dance, the Giant Leprechauns of Fresno, and the Ophir Prison Marching Kazoo Band & Temperance Society.
“I think people really enjoy getting to see a lot of the local organizations come together to celebrate,” Hughes said.
Bert Williamson of O’Mally’s Irish Pub in Old Sacramento will serve as the parade grand marshal. The bar opened 20 years ago on St. Patrick’s Day, according to Hughes.
“Usually, you know, there’s a celebrity or a political figure, but given that it’s in Old Sacramento, given it’s his 20th anniversary of opening that great Irish pub, we thought that was very appropriate,” Hughes said.
Williamson said he doesn’t think he’s missed the parade since its inception. He said he was “impressed that they even asked me. I think it’s something very prestigious.”
Festivities start at 11:30 a.m. with shows by Capital Cheer Elite Storm, McKeever School of Irish Dance and Element Brass Band. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., vendors will be set up on K Street, including Sacramento River Train, Farm Fresh To You and Girl Scout Troop 1078.
“It’s also great for the Celtic communities to be able to present their cultural experiences,” Hughes said. “It’s activation of public space. Anytime that you can bring something positive to an area that brings people together for one common, you know, fun, happy, family thing, I say why not? It just brings more good. And it helps the merchants and the businesses. So from a commerce standpoint, it’s good for business.”
St. Patrick’s Day Parade
When: Saturday, March 18, 1 p.m.
Where: Old Sacramento
Note: Old Sacramento streets will be closed from noon to 3 p.m. for traffic and parking.
Mondavi Center: Irish music in two venues. In Corin Courtyard, Celtic American rock from Sacramento One Eyed Reilly; 5:30 p.m., free. In Jackson Hall, Dervish from County Sligo, Ireland, with traditional music, and Le Vent du Nord from Quebec; 7 p.m., $25. 1 Shields Ave., Davis. 530-754-5000, www.mondaviarts.org
De Vere’s Irish Pub: St. Patrick’s Day Party. Beverages, corned beef and cabbage. 9 a.m.-11:55 p.m., free entry. 1521 L St., Sacramento, and 217 E St., Davis. 916-231-9947, www.facebook.com, deverespub.com
Malt & Mash Rockin’ Saint Pats St. Rose of Lima Takeover: St. Patrick’s Day party with food, drinks and music, including bagpipes. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., $5-$10, 21 and older only. Corner of Eighth and K streets, Sacramento. www.facebook.com
Old Sacramento Bar Crawl: Nine bars will participate. 9 p.m.-2 a.m. Passport $10 for a map and $1 off every drink. Second Street, Sacramento. Free entry. www.facebook.com
Who’s Your Paddy Street Party: Irish-themed food, live music by three bands and giveaways at noon. More Irish music starting at 6 p.m., Saturday, March 18. Free admission. Father Paddy’s Public House, 435 Main St., Woodland. 530-668-1044, www.facebook.com