As you already should know, St. Patrick’s Day is a cultural and religious holiday held on March 17th, the day the patron saint of Ireland, Saint Patrick, died. Every year on this day, the Irish and the Irish-at-heart all over the world celebrate with parades, dancing, music, fun foods, and cover themselves in green.
Baton Rouge does St. Patty’s Day right. If you have yet been to the parade our city puts on every year either the Saturday before or after the 17th, you are missing out big time. This year it falls on March 12. You may have to wake up earlier than you want to on a Saturday, but it is totally worth it. There is a party going on all day long in this city. A day filled with beads, confetti, Jell-O shots and green beer is a day you want to participate in, and it is only once a year! It is a historical and incredibly fun day, and people that don’t even live in BR travel to get here for this parade.
The first Wearin’ of the Green parade was in 1986, according to Baton Rouge’s parade website, paradegroup.com. The parade route was City Park Golf Course to the old Zee Zee Gardens, organized by Pat Shingleton (WBRZ TV). It was strictly a walking parade at this time; no floats were involved then. In 1991 the parade moved to it’s current destination, Hundred Oaks at South Acadian Thruway. There used to be an annual street-party at the foot of the overpass on Perkins Road. This party was said to have its final year in 1994, but it still goes on today. The Overpass is the end of the parade route and is a very popular spot, especially for college kids.
We all know Mardi Gras gets crazy. There was a tragedy in 1998 in Baton Rouge that made police want to have a DWI van on site for the parade, according to the website. Because Mardi Gras usually comes before St. Patty’s Day, the police were prepared. And they are even more prepared today. So to the ones that have yet to reach 21, be careful. And everyone get a safe ride home, or onto the next festivity! Most bars have something going on with drink specials and of course, the famous green beer. Don’t worry, the green makes it taste even better.
Baton Rouge’s St. Patrick’s Day parade consists of about 25 floats. Some of them are just local families and friends that have been doing this for years and some are sponsored by different beer brands, or restaurants here like Walk Ons. There are also performers walking, like the bagpipe crew, and local high school bands including the dancers. Don’t forget to wear your green, and lots of it! Or else you will be pinched throughout the entire day.
So be there or be square, the parade always rolls at 10 a.m. Top of the mornin’ to ya!
Photo courtesy of Paul Meyer and Mabyn Shingleton.