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Youngstown’s St. Patrick’s Day parade gets bigger every year

YOUNGSTOWN – It’ll be a wearin’ of the green at noon Saturday as this village plans its fifth annual O’Riordan St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Participants will gather at Hinman and Main streets, parading north up Main.

And, it will be a “raisin’ of the green” to follow, with the Youngstown Lions Club’s Cash Bash event from 1 to 4 p.m. in the village’s Red Brick municipal building, 240 Lockport St. This event raises money for the Neil Riordan Lewiston-Porter Scholarship, named in honor of the late village mayor, and to whom the parade also is dedicated.

The Youngstown Business and Professional Association, with the support of the Village of Youngstown, organizes the parade each year. Organizers encourage parade participants to borrow a shopping cart from Melloni’s Market Place to decorate “floats” with a green theme.

“We started with one shopping cart in the first parade,” recalled Cheryl Butera, the business association’s president “This is for anybody – not just businesses. It can be anyone who lives in the community. The floats will be judged, with a prize for the children and one for the adults.”

Judging is planned in front of the Ontario House (the Jug), corner of Main and Lockport streets.

Robert Emerson, executive director of Old Fort Niagara, and his wife, Kate, Niagara County historian, will lead the parade.

The MacKenzie Highlanders’ Pipes and Drums will provide music, and organizers invite any other musicians to join in the parade as well. Dancers from the Youngstown Dance Shop, with Amy Roush, as well as the McCarthy School of Dance, also are scheduled to perform.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the business association and this event signals the start of a new year of events.

“Each St. Patrick’s Day parade is even better than the year before, with more people coming to town, more people getting involved and more musicians,” Butera said.

“It’s such good, clean fun for families,” she added. “It’s a really short parade – only two blocks. And I think we can be optimistic that it won’t feel like winter. I think the odds are in our favor this time around.”

Butera said this also marks the second year for the Lions’ Cash Bash following the parade. It is the group’s largest fundraiser of the year.

Two cash prizes of $500 each will be awarded, as well as six prizes of $300 each. You do not have to be present to win these prizes.

In addition, $100 drawings will take place at 2 p.m., 3 p.m. and 4 p.m., requiring the winners’ presence. The event also will feature food, wine, beer and soft drinks.

Tickets are $20 and may be purchased by calling 870-9722. In addition to benefiting the scholarship fund, the event supports the Town of Porter’s libraries and many others.