WILKES-BARRE — Colorful musicians and dancers combined with foot tapping music to keep hundreds of onlookers entertained for two hours at the city’s 34th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Sunday afternoon.
The cold temperatures did not deter the celebration. The parade route was lined with people from all over the Wyoming Valley coming to show off their green and be Irish for the day.
The parade began at 2 p.m. at the corner of South Street and South Main Street. The parade route continued around Public Square onto North Main Street, ending at Union Street.
Events began at 9 a.m. with a Renal 5K Race to raise awareness for kidney cancer research. Downtown businesses offered family activities such as a story hour at Barnes & Noble, face-painting by Just Plain Crazy Face Art and music by The Hooley Boys on Public Square.
All three Wilkes-Barre Area School District bands participated, and bagpipe bands pumped the air full of Irish jig music. In a blaze of color, the Pennsport String Band from Philadelphia caught the eyes of many as they played banjos, accordions, saxophones and drums.
After trying to encourage people on one float to toss a T-shirt their way, Bianca Concert, Laflin, and friend Courtney Hafner, Parsons, said they really enjoyed the parade.
“I really liked the colorful dancers,” Hafner said.
Concert said she liked the Shiners.
“They looked like colorful birds,” Concert said.
Coming out to support the Dallas Mini Mounts, Beth Anne DeAngleo of Dallas found herself staying longer to enjoy the variety of the parade.
“There are so many different groups,” DeAngleo said. “I love it. It is so impressive.”
The variety of performers in the parade was the result of early planning, which started in the summer months. It began during the summer months, said Liza Prokop, community relations coordinator of the City of Wilkes-Barre.
“The date is chosen in the summer,” said Prokop. “We begin getting phone calls in late summer. We send out save-the-date cards to different groups in October.”
Prokop said planning the parade is “laborious;” but, with the help of several committees and sponsors, ideas come to life, making it the longest parade for the city.
“It is longer than the Christmas parade,” Prokop said.
She added it is the most successful and fun day in the downtown.