Celebrate this St. Patrick’s Day by wearing your colorful green clothing and eating green bagels and drinking green beer. If that does not sound exciting enough, consider having your own neighborhood St. Patrick’s Day parade. Here are some suggestions to make your own celebration memorable.
Planning your own St. Patrick’s Day parade has several benefits. For one thing, you can avoid the larger crowds that attend St. Patrick’s Day parades in big cities. For another, you can get closer to your neighbors and make a holiday truly memorable.
Start by planning your parade as early as possible. You may not need an entire year to prepare for it, but give yourself at least three or four months. The reason for this is that you will want to book space for the parade to occur in your municipality.
Next, hold a meeting with neighbors, or e-mail them to ask for suggested parade dates. The 17th of March is a natural date since it is St. Patrick’s Day, but that does not mean the parade has to be held then. Once a date is set, you can also pursue booking the venue.
If you plan to make it more of a block party parade, you need to check on any permits you need to obtain before holding an event that will require parking restrictions or that will require some streets be closed. Check with your town or city clerk for more information.
If there is a community or senior center in your area, you may be able to book space there for everyone to gather on the parade date. Once you have a venue and a date, it is time to send out invitations to your neighbors. You can send invitations by e-mail to save money, but remember some e-mails may not reach their intended recipient, so it might be worth it to mail paper invitations. In the invite, request that each family be responsible for one item such as a drink or a dessert.
Ask neighbors who are helping to put the event together to post flyers at local businesses, churches or schools. You may find that one of the business owner’s wishes to sponsor the parade, thereby defraying the cost for everyone.
Ask the local Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts for help. If you have veteran groups, Shriner’s, or other organizations in your area, they may also want to get involved. If you have Irish groups do not forget that they will also want to see your parade succeed, even if they are from outlying areas. There may be Irish dance clubs who will want to perform at the parade, so do not be afraid to ask around.
Call your local radio stations and newspapers. Let them run stories about the upcoming event. Do not forget to use social media platforms to be sure the word reaches everyone, including any friends in neighboring communities that may want to participate.
Finally, consider giveaways. You can hold a raffle and give away prizes purchased by any sponsors. Also, be sure to visit your local party store and buy bulk plastic trinkets to give to all attendees to make the occasion fun. Don’t forget to hand out green paper hats or shamrock necklaces. All these prizes and trinkets will make things even more fun.
Encourage everyone in your neighborhood and in the surrounding areas to come join you for your local parade. Even if you only march up and down your street, this is something special that your neighborhood can call its own. You may even start an annual event.