Holyoke St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Holyoke St. Patricks Day Parade

Alina Fairlie, Herald Writer

The 69th Holyoke St Patrick’s Day Parade is making a return on Sunday, March 20, after being put on hold for two years due to COVID. In March 2020, the parade was canceled for the first time since it began in 1952, hurting the local economy. According to a UMass Donahue Institute Study, the celebration of Irish culture and our city has brought in $20 million dollars, and has provided 254 jobs. Many small businesses such as food trucks will be working at the parade for the first time, along with some new special guests, such as the Council General of Ireland. 

This is Mayor Joshua Garcia’s first parade as mayor, saying “It is the kind of history that reminds me that we are no good divided and that we are meant to embrace each other as neighbors and live united.” Based on past statistics, it may bring in over 80,000 spectators. In 2011, there were over 400,000 attendees, so in 2022, numbers should be high again. President of the Parade Committee, Marc Joyce, estimates that there may be 250,000 visitors. He told Reminder Publishing,“We’re planning a full parade.” It will start off at the former Kmart Plaza, and will be broadcasted on WWLP at noon.  In past parades, people have come in from all over the country, even former president John F. Kennedy. We will also get traction from the 45th St Patrick’s Road Race, which will be held the day before the parade, on Saturday, March 19th from 1-3pm. Anyone is welcome to register, and participants will be walking or running 2 miles.  It is likely that we may have more spectators than usual with people anxious to get back to beloved traditions, and return to a sense of normalcy. It is a huge part of the community and brings substantial support to many small businesses that represent our city. 

Many members of our community, including our students, feel that the parade is an important part of their family’s traditions. Sophomore Brenna Phillips says, “I’ve been going to the parade since I was very young, and every year it brings my family together when we normally wouldn’t gather. It’s just a lot of fun and overall a very positive event for the city, and I’m very excited to get to go back this year.” Such a huge event will bring many other families together, and raise the spirits of Holyoke. Attendees will support many Western Mass small businesses and clubs, including our Holyoke High cheerleaders and band. Be sure to catch the parade on Sunday, March 20th, starting at 11am, beginning at the K-Mart plaza!