Buffalo's St. Patrick's Day Weekend celebrations wouldn't be the same if the Valley Community Center chose not to host the Old Neighborhood Parade due to diminishing returns.
While the Delaware Avenue parade on Sunday has garnered a reputation for shoulder-to-shoulder crowds and a bit more sloppiness, the Old First Ward parade, held the day prior, still harbors the close-knit community charm and Irish revelry that feels more authentic than its counterpart.
Considering the effort and investment Old Neighborhood Parade founder Peg Overdorf and others have put into the annual festivities for more than 20 years, it would be a pity to see the parade end.
Old Neighborhood St. Patrick's Day Parade, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 16, parade begins outside the Valley Community Center (93 Leddy St.). Free to attend.
While the Old Neighborhood parade is endangered, it will proceed as usual this year. The traditional route traverses much of the Old First Ward, covering South Park Avenue, Smith, Hamburg and Elk streets and more before wrapping up at Louisiana Street by Conway Park. The trek doubles as a boon for nearby businesses, which are swarmed with green-clad parade-goers looking to warm up or enjoy a drink.
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Here are more things to do on St. Patrick's Day Weekend:
Delaware Avenue St. Patrick's Day Parade, 2 p.m. Sunday, March 17, begins at Niagara Square at Delaware Avenue. Free to attend.
Although many would argue the Sunday parade down Delaware Avenue has just become one giant party, riddled with high school and college students day-drinking aggressively, it's been a little more tame in recent years thanks to a more substantial police presence, and there are wholesome roots thanks to the United Irish American Association. Ryan T. Johnson is a third-generation Irish grand marshal, honoring his late grandfather, who led the parade in 1976.
A pre-parade mass will be held at St. Joseph's Cathedral, at 50 Franklin St., at 10:30 a.m.
Live at O'Larkin, 5 to 8 p.m. Friday, March 15 at Larkin Square (745 Seneca St.). Free to attend.
This week's Gusto cover story reminds local music fans that Irish bands who shine during St. Patrick's Day Weekend also perform year-round at neighborhood bars and small music venues.
At the seventh annual Live at O'Larkin, McCarthyizm and Crikwater will seize the spotlight, while Clann na Cara dancers and the Greater Buffalo Firefighters Pipes and Drums will also perform. Lloyd Taco and the Great Foodini will be the food trucks in attendance.
Labatt Citra St. Patrick's Day party, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday, March 17 at Labatt Brew House (79 Perry St.). Free to attend.
Labatt Blue's new brew, Citra, a hoppy session lager, has been marketed heavily throughout Buffalo, and that continues with a party at the Labatt Brew House and the Draft Room Sunday.
Tragically Hip tribute band Strictly Hip will perform from noon to 4 p.m., and a special Irish menu, including a banger sandwich, Reuben and Irish nachos, will be available from the Draft Room's kitchen. A Labatt beer tasting and giveaways further add to the intrigue.
[Related: Read the story behind the creation of Labatt Blue Citra]
St. Patrick celebration, 4 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 15; noon to 11 p.m. Saturday, March 16 and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday, March 17 at the Buffalo Irish Center (245 Abbott Road). Presale tickets are $8 at the Irish Center bar or Tara Gift Shoppe, or $10 at the door.
What's more Irish in Buffalo than the Buffalo Irish Center? The Abbott Road hub will host a full weekend of live music and Irish dance - see the full schedule here - with Crikwater, Penny Whiskey and the Leftovers headlining Friday through Sunday, respectively.
Music begins at 7 p.m. Friday, 1 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday.
New Resurgence location lot party, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, March 16 at 55 Chicago St. Free to attend.
Just west of the Old Neighborhood Parade route is the new location of Resurgence Brewing Co., which contributed to the revitalization of Niagara Street since it opened in 2014. While the new site is still roughly two months away from being fully functional, Saturday will serve as a glimpse into the $7 million project with Ellicott Development.
Pints of Resurgence's most popular beers will be available for $5 cash at the lot party, and Fat Bob's food truck will be on the premises. Read more details in Scott Scanlon's preview of the party and the new brewery.
Sesame Street Live, 10:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. Saturday, March 16; 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Sunday, March 17 at the University at Buffalo Center for the Arts (103 CFA, Amherst). Tickets range between $15-$20 depending on the show, with meet-and-greet passes for an additional $25.
Perseverance, mental strength, laughs and plenty of fur will draw families to Amherst for Sesame Street Live, which has a whopping five shows this weekend. Watch as Elmo struggles to grasp the magic of expert Justin, and keep your eyes peeled for entrances by "Sesame Street" favorites such as the Cookie Monster, Grover, Big Bird, Count von Count and more.
Fewer than 100 tickets remain for the Buffalo visit of Mother Mother, the Canadian indie rockers led by brother-sister combo Ryan and Molly Guldemond. The band's 2014 and 2017 albums cracked the top 10 of Canadian music charts, and while November's "Dance and Cry" struggled as an album, single "Get Up" hit No. 1 on the Canadian alternative charts.
Most recently, the Vancouver band released a video for "It's Alright," which you can see here.
The Oakk Room eighth anniversary, 6 p.m. Saturday, March 15 at 1435 Main St. Free to attend.
Surviving eight years as a bar in Buffalo is no easy feat, but that's what the Oakk Room, started by two Canisius College alums, has achieved. Enjoy a DJ set by Eurowe, a soul food buffet and giveaways deep into the night at the East Side bar-restaurant known for its cocktails, underrated food menu and quirky decor.
[Related: Look around the Oakk Room at the Panoramic Magazine launch party]
"After the Fall" by Arthur Miller, opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday, March 15 and runs through April 6 in Manny Fried Playhouse (255 Great Arrow Ave.). Tickets are $30 in advance.
After a strong debut with "Medusa Undone," Post-Industrial Productions has joined forces with Subversive Theatre to perform a "thinly veiled auto-biographical story" about tragic events in the protagonist's life, often connected with how Marilyn Monroe, the playwright's wife, committed suicide. Video projections of the protagonist's memories help stir the emotions of a heart-wrenching play.
Sold out: The Indigo Girls with Grace Stumberg in Asbury Hall at Babeville.
5 things to look forward to next week
Sabres Alumni Wine Festival
10,000 Maniacs in Irish Classical
Mayer Bros. Cider Mill spring opening
Jose Gonzalez and the String Theory in UB CFA
Sonny Baker for ReSounding at Burchfield Penney
Story topics: Buffalo Irish Center/ event previews/ Instagram/ Labatt USA/ Larkin Square/ Live at O'Larkin/ mother mother/ Oakk Room/ Old First Ward/ Old Neighborhood Parade/ Resurgence Brewing Co./ Sesame Street Live/ St. Patrick's Day/ St. Patrick's Day Parade/ things to do/ UB Center for the Arts/ Valley Community Association