The 7th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade kicks off at noon Saturday in Youngstown.
Sponsored by the Youngstown Business and Professional Association with support from the Village of Youngstown, the parade honors the late Youngstown Mayor Neil Riordan, who passed away in 2011 after more than three decades of service to the village.
Robert Emerson, executive director of Old Fort Niagara, and his wife, Catherine “Kate,” Niagara County historian, and a group of soldiers from Old Fort Niagara lead the march each year. The Youngstown MacKenzie Highlanders Pipes and Drums also participate.
The parade started with participants turning a shopping cart into a small “float” and the idea took off. Organizers invite all local businesses and organizations to decorate a cart with a theme reflecting their interests.
The parade travels from Hinman Street, north on Main Street to Falkner Park and back to Main Street and will end at the Mug and Musket Restaurant this year. Elected officials from the Village of Youngstown and Town of Porter will participate, as well as members of the Youngstown Police and Youngstown Volunteer Fire Company, which will provide two fire trucks and an ambulance.
The Porter Empty Return Center and Care and Share Food Pantry of Ransomville will also join the festivities. Each year, the Youngstown Village Diner has treated parade watchers to a warm cup of “Kickin’ Chicken Chowder” made by Cathy Pasquantino. Organizers are still looking for dance schools to join the parade.
A unique wedding float is scheduled to make an appearance, sponsored by the bar/restaurant Somewhere, with a couple intending to marry on St. Patrick’s Day.
Michael Riordan, Neil Riordan’s grandson, will serve as parade marshal and his mother, Jodee Riordan, will be mistress of ceremonies.
Many local businesses will participate with post-parade offerings at their establishments.
The Youngstown Lions will hold their annual Cash Bash in the gym of the Youngstown Municipal Building, 240 Lockport St., with proceeds going toward the Neil Riordan scholarship fund.
This is an all-volunteer event and no fees are charged for participation. Prizes will be awarded for best adult and best children’s floats. To borrow a shopping cart for a float to participate in the parade, call Melloni’s Market Place at 219-4105. For more information, contact Cheryl Butera, YBPA president, or Mark Butera, YBPA secretary, at 745-7989.