19th Annual Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade to be held Sunday, March 30
The parade is dedicated to the first responders and victims of the Boston Marathon Bombing
Manchester, NH – The Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade will step off at noon for the 19th year in a row this Sunday, March 30. Upwards of 50,000 people are expected to line the one-mile course along Elm Street, from Salmon to Central Streets, to cheer for bagpipe bands, military units, high school bands and marching units of all types.
This year’s parade is dedicated to the first responders and victims of the Boston Marathon bombing whose one-year anniversary is two weeks after the parade.
Sr. Patricia Sullivan RSM has been named Grand Marshal of the parade. Each year, the parade names a Grand Marshal who is of Irish heritage and Catholic faith, who has contributed to the betterment of the greater Manchester area.
Sr. Pat is a nun of the Sisters of Mercy and a former director of the NH Catholic Charities. Since 2010, she has been a member of the Northeast Community Leadership Team for the Sisters of Mercy. She was also previously the president of the NH Regional Community.
Sr. Pat was nominated by her sister Joan (Sullivan) Fleury who said Sr. Pat is “an excellent example of a successful Manchester resident who does her Irish heritage proud.”
Thomas J. King Award
Former Manchester Alderman Mike Lopez has been named the Thomas J. King Award winner for 2014. The Thomas J. King Award is named in honor of the parade founder and former Manchester police chief. It recognizes an individual, who is not of Irish heritage or not of Catholic faith, who has contributed to the betterment of Manchester or greater Manchester.
Lopez is highly active in the Veteran’s community. He served in the U.S. Army for 22 years in postings around the globe. Lopez was the head of the Manchester Veteran’s Council for many years and has been involved as a member or officer in a variety of veteran’s organizations.
When a group of citizens, made up of both members and non-members of the Ancient Order of Hibernians, conceived the idea of a St. Patrick’s Parade in Manchester in 1995, Lopez was involved in that planning effort. In fact, he played a crucial part in staging and managing the first few parades until Parade Committe members learned what it took to succeed at such an effort. The instant success and subsequent staying power of the Manchester St. Patrick’s Parade can be directly attributed to volunteers such as Mike Lopez.
The Shamrock Shuffle will precede the parade again this year. The Shuffle is a two-mile road race, which will take place at 11:15 a.m. Children’s races begin at 10:45 a.m. The course for the Shuffle has been changed this year to better accommodate the 3,000 runners, although it remains two miles.
Participants will begin at the Review Stand, located at Veteran’s Park, proceed south and turn right at Granite Street, and then turn right on Canal Street. Runners will turn right on Langdon Street and then again on Elm Street and proceed along the parade route to the finish, located back at the Parade Review Stand. Organizers are reporting a sold-out crowd of roughly 3,000 registrations for the fourth-year effort.
Attendees can help local food pantries by donating canned goods and non-perishable food items to New Horizons. Drop off locations will be located in the Pappy’s Pizza parking lot as well as the corners of Bridge & Elm Streets and Merrimack & Elm Streets. The final vehicle in the parade will also be a New Horizons pickup vehicle, to collect donations from people not in the vicinity of a drop-off.
This year’s parade will include a collection of world-renowned, nationally known and locally loved units. The Consul General for Ireland, Breandan O’Caollai, will make his first appearance in the parade after three years of attendance by his predecessor.
Two marching units appearing in this year’s parade represented their home states in the Presidential Inaugural Parade in January. The Londonderry High School Marching Lancer Band and Color Guard, and the Gym Dandies Children’s Circus represented New Hampshire and Maine, respectively. The Londonderry band also represented New Hampshire in the 2008 Inaugural Parade. It is uncommon for a performing group to be invited to perform twice at that event.
Among the marching units scheduled to participate in this year’s parade are:
Bagpipe bands: Hibernian Pipes & Drums; NH Police Association Pipes & Drums; NH Professional Fire Pipes; New Hampshire Pipes and Drums.
High School bands: Londonderry HS; Memorial West (representing Manchester schools)
Fife and drum: Middlesex County Volunteers Fyfe & Drum Corps; Sudbury Ancient Fyfe & Drum Companie
Drum & bugle corps bands: Sons of Italy, The Muchachos
Shiners: Mini monster trucks, clowns
Other marching units: Gym Dandies Children’s Circus; Amoskeag Strummers; civic and community groups; mascots; championship sports teams; elected officials; and military re-enactors.
The parade costs more than $50,000 to produce each year and the full amount is raised in private donations. No city or other public money goes to fund this event. Donations from individuals and businesses help to defray the cost of marching units, security and other crucial operating expenses.
Major sponsors include Millennium Running, Fairpoint Communications, and The Anagnost Companies. Media sponsors for this year’s parade are The Union Leader, Rock 101, WZID/WFEA and the Binnie Media Group, including Frank FM, WJYY and The Wolf.
How is Parade Day Chosen?
We get asked all the time: Why is the parade held so long after St. Patrick’s Day?
- On St. Patrick’s Day itself, plus the Saturday and Sunday before and after there are parades in other Irish towns like Boston, Newport, Syracuse, Holyoke and Worcester. Many of the best marching units participate in multiple parades so, if our local parade was scheduled on a day that competes with another parade, the Manchester parade would lose out on certain entertainment units. The Committee made a decision years ago to put on the best parade possible, and that means not competing with any of the other major parades.
- Several years ago the Committee decided the parade would be held the last Sunday in March with the hope that we’re another week or two closer to spring and, thereby, have a better chance at good weather.
- Bonus: it’s another day to get out of the house at the end of winter and enjoy some family fun!
For additional information, please contact Stephanie McLaughlin at 617.899.2856 or, by e-mail, at Stephanie@savoirfaire-us.com.