03 Jun, Saturday
77° F

The Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Comes to Downtown Springfield

Last weekend was the 39th edition of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade. This parade holds many traditions for families and others of all ages and backgrounds to come together and celebrate. This year’s parade theme was, A Tribute to The Irish Family, and it was held on Saturday, March 11, at noon. The grand marshal of this parade was the Ryan Family, who have been longtime participants in the parade and were perfect representations of this year’s theme. This family came from all over the United States to participate in the parade, making it a reunion for the family.

What is interesting about this parade is that it only gets planned by about seven different people, and a lot of behind-the-scenes work comes into play to make these parades successful. There were over 90 different groups in attendance this year, making it one of the largest turnouts ever. The parade route is in the heart of downtown Springfield, starting at Jefferson & Sixth, moving west to Fifth, then heading south on Fifth to Capitol, then heading North on Sixth to the reviewing stand, proceeding to Washington, then heading back east to the Horace Mann parking lot.

The streets of downtown Springfield were lined with thousands of people awaiting the start of the St. Patrick’s Day parade | Photo credit: Amanda Brown

The crowd was full of energized people of all ages. Lots of socializing was occurring on the streets, and downtown festivities could be found everywhere along the parade route. There were specific family-designated areas for people with young children wanting to avoid the hustle and bustle of many drinking people. There was also an area for adults and college students over 21 to enjoy green beer and other amazing food and drink. As the parade flowed through the streets of downtown Springfield, laughter and beads filled the air. Despite being a cold day, people cheered and sang as the parade passed. Attendees of this parade could have gathered a collection of various items ranging from beads, candy, hot dogs, and chips to shirts and jump passes for Sky Zone. Every float was decorated with the Saint Patrick’s Day theme and tossed out some sort of goody for the people along the route. Four-legged friends were walking the parade route with places like APL, showcasing the dogs they had for adoption. Somehow, even President Abraham Lincoln and his wife could be seen walking the parade route and pausing for pictures with fans.

The event would not be possible without the efforts of the people planning it, the vendors, sponsors, and participants. That said, the Springfield, Illinois, Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is a community-sponsored event. The 2023 sponsors of the parade include Capital Radio Group, CONN Hospitality Group (who sponsored the school marching bands), D’arcy’s Pint  (who sponsored the reviewing stand), Downtown Bar Association, Fritz Distributing, Giffin Winning, Cohen, & Bodewes, Maldaner’s Restaurant, Downtown Springfield, Inc., David Herman, John Gabata, Midwest Family (who sponsored the media), Neuhoff Media Group, Old State Capitol, Primo Designs, Rudin Printing Company (who sponsored the graphics and printing), Signature Event Rentals, and Skeff Distributing.

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