The History of The Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade


The 36th Annual St. Patrick’s Parade kicks off at noon on Saturday March 17, this year. And while the parade as we all know it began in the early 1980’s, historians say that some of the earliest days of the parade date back to the 1850’s.

Gregg Tripoli, Executive Director of The Onondaga Historical Association said that the early traditions involving the parade are largely in part due to the rich Irish history that exists in Onondaga County. Initially, the Irish settlers weren’t so welcome in the United States because they were taking jobs on the canal, Tripoli said. But over time communities across the country moved more toward acceptance and celebration leading to one of the County’s most popular parades.

Over time, the parade dwindled and there was a large gap between the early days of the parade and its revival, more than 40 years to be exact. But in the early 1980’s, committee and community members came back together to restore the parade. In that first year back, more than 30,000 spectators turned out, Tripoli said. By 1986. just three years into the parade’s revival, nearly 120,000 people came out in celebration of the Irish holiday. And now, more than thirty years later, the Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade is on the list of top ten St. Patrick’s Parades in the country. 

If you’d like to catch the Syracuse St. Patrick’s Parade it kicks off at noon on Saturday March 17 from downtown Syracuse. You can also catch it live on News Channel 9 at noon and the rebroadcast at 7pm on MeTV.

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