The first St Patrick’s Day Parade in St Augustine, Florida was held in 1601, making it the oldest St Patrick’s Day Parade in the United States. It’s a celebration of the Emerald Isle’s most revered saint.
There are more than 50 units in the parade this year, featuring 1,000 participants. The Clans and athletes from the Highland Games, who are part of the Celtic Festival, will be marching and carrying their flags and banners – with the music, colors, language and stories of their ancestors.
“We want to make this a community event that everyone can enjoy, and we have a really dedicated team working with us to make everything run smoothly,” parade organizers Matthew and Chris Fulmer told Historic City News today. The Fulmers have been involved in the parade since its second year and took over as organizers in 2016.
This year the parade will begin at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, March 10 at Francis Field, 29 West Castillo Drive, downtown St. Augustine. The parade travels down Orange Street to Avenida Menendez (the bayfront), then to Cathedral Place, next on Cordova Street, then back to Orange Street. Spectators are encouraged to arrive early to claim a spot along the parade route, then follow the parade to the Celtic Festival.
Entrants will be judged in one of three categories: Band, Marching unit or Float. Prizes will be given for the best in each category. The reviewing stand is on the balcony of Ann O’Malley’s Irish Pub on Orange Street.
The St. Augustine St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the St. Augustine Celtic Music & Heritage Festival is produced by Romanza – St. Augustine and is funded in part by St. Johns County Tourist Development Council, the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and by Visit Florida.