Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade Follows Spirited Route Through South Boston

Crowds of green flooded the streets of South Boston Sunday for the 117th St. Patrick’s Day parade. Neon green wigs and hats of various kinds spotted the sidewalk. Three little girls clumped together in the front row, hair dyed green, each with a headband of a Leprechaun hat or two four-leafed clovers. Parents and families clustered on porches of houses behind the sidewalk, talking in groups and giving out the occasional cheer.

There was some concern over whether the parade would follow its usual route—3.2 miles beginning at the Broadway T Station and ending at the Andrew T Stop—or an adapted one due to the recent snowstorm. The parade organizers, the Allied War Veterans’ Council of South Boston (AWVCSB), pushed for the traditional route, citing its historical significance and the fact that it ran successfully in harsher weather conditions than was expected for Sunday. Ultimately it was Mayor Marty Walsh’s decision: He opted for the shortened route.

“Our number one priority will always be to keep our residents safe at all times,” said Walsh, BC ’09, in an official statement.

The adapted route began at the same place and ended at Farragut Road, 1.4 miles shorter than the original. The MBTA provided free bus rides from the T station to the parade, helping to transport the masses. It was a cold, bright day and spirits were high. Crowds were so thick at some places that it was difficult to walk, but they thinned out at others along the road and allowed for clear viewing. A total of 250 groups marched, including 75 floats and 35 bands. The groups were as diverse as they were numerous: a bagpipe band, a float with cartoon characters such as a minion and a dancing Pikachu, Miss Boston, a creature made of balloons, and many more.

People cheered from behind yellow rope on both sides of East Broadway as the parade passed by, accepting high-fives from participants or holding up their hands to catch green necklaces. Kids bent down to pick up lollipops as people tossed candy from floats. Enthusiasts flocked to the event to celebrate Irish heritage, have fun with friends, or just to enjoy the scene.

“It’s a really good bonding experience,” said Javier Diaz, MCAS ’21. “Especially for people from BC, so they get a good taste of what Boston is like.”

It was Liz Deluca of Brooklyn, N.Y.’s first time seeing the parade in Boston, but she had been to the one in Savannah, GA. She was impressed by the attendees’ ability to brave the cold, barely giving any indication that they minded it.

“I haven’t seen too much rowdiness or anything like that,” Deluca said. “Overall everybody’s having a good time. Everybody’s been really friendly.”

Featured Image by Keith Carroll / Photo Editor