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Valley party and Live at O’Larkin kick off St. Patrick’s Day season

You don’t have to wait for St. Patrick’s Day, or even the 22nd annual Old Neighborhood Parade on March 14 and the downtown parade on March 15, to start wearing the green.

Before the big weekend, two events will get the shamrock season started. A party announcing the dignitaries for the first parade will happen Saturday, followed by the third iteration of a party in Larkin Square on March 13 to kick off the weekend.

First, the Valley Community Association will formally announce its St. Patrick’s Day Parade grand marshal and dedications at a fundraiser party from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday in the Valley Center, 93 Leddy St. Admission of $20 per person includes draft beer and pop, with other refreshments sold. Tickets will be available at the door. Music will be provided by the band Crickwater.

The 2015 “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which steps off at noon on March 14, will be led by John “Noey” Nostrant as grand marshal. Nostrant was born on Hamburg Street and graduated from St. Brigid’s School and Bishop Timon High School. Nostrant, a co-owner of McGinty’s Tavern, which is currently known as Irish Times and located on Swan Street, was part of a group of people who planned the first edition of the revived parade in 1994.

This year the parade will be dedicated to four people who died in the past year: Helen Kearns, Larry Carroll, Al Dee and Mike LaRusch.

A grand Irish Hooley will follow the parade on March 14 at the Valley Center with live Irish music by the Left Overs, as well as food and refreshments.

Next up after Saturday’s event is the third annual Live at O’Larkin celebration, which will run from 5 to 8 p.m. March 13 in Larkin Square at Seneca and Swan streets. Admission is free, with music provided by McCarthyizm, Emerald Isle, Clann Na Cara School of Irish Dance, the Greater Buffalo Firefighters Pipes & Drums and more. The event marks the year’s first mass gathering of food trucks, nearly two months before Food Truck Tuesdays return to Larkinville in May.