Area ranks high in St. Patrick’s Day celebrations
By Terry Duffy
Just like that we’re now into March (thank God), and spring is approaching.
And with that comes the all-familiar “wearin ‘o the green” celebrations for many this time of the year. After all, it is Buffalo-Niagara and, following those dragging months of dealing with our less-than-inspiring winter weather, not to mention the less-than-thrilling sports scene on the ice, we do need something to get excited about, right?
Well then, let’s get into one happening that many residents really take a liking to: St. Patrick’s Day.
As written here before, for its size, residents in the Buffalo-Niagara area really get into St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. For 2020, our little metro area ranks an impressive No. 8 nationally among the top 200 cities in the U.S. when it comes to “Best St. Patrick’s Day Celebrations,” according to the latest Wallet Hub findings. Among the rating criteria, Buffalo-Niagara scored a nice No. 10 ranking for St. Patrick’s Day traditions, a No. 29 rank for our weather, and No. 30 for the safety and accessibility of our many celebrations.
So what of those celebrations?
Well, we all know that March 17 – the actual St. Patrick’s Day holiday – falls on a Tuesday this year. And as a result, many of the local celebrations have been moved around somewhat, with some events already underway.
Today, there’s the Shamrock Run taking place from the Old First Ward Community Center in South Buffalo. And on the “St. Patrick’s Events to Check Out” page from www.stepoutbuffalo.com, one will find close to 50 listings of things to do and enjoy over the coming days with Irish flavor for people of all ages.
Truly wide-ranging events – from a Paddy’s bar crawl in downtown Buffalo to Irish cookie making at Resurgence; a family “Shamrock Row” at Buffalo Seminary to a “Green and White Irish Disco” at Ironworks; the “Green Tie Dinner” of Irish culture and cuisine evening in East Aurora, to an Irish-themed murder mystery dinner theater in Depew. Then there’s the 27th “Old Neighborhood” St. Patrick’s Day Parade Saturday March 14, in the Old First Ward, and the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Delaware Avenue Sunday, March 15, in downtown Buffalo.
Yes, our Buffalo-Niagara residents, businesses, schools, churches and cultural organizations really know how to go all-out on this one.
Up in Niagara, there’s a number of good ones to check out:
•The 38th annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration, presented by the Ancient Order of Hibernians, kicks off at 4:45 p.m. Friday, March 13, in downtown Niagara Falls with the “Shortest Parade” at the intersection of Old Falls and First streets. It continues with “Western New York’s Largest St. Patrick’s Day celebration” at the Conference and Event Center from 5-11 p.m.
There, area residents will experience one of the best St. Patrick’s Day family celebrations around, with a host of Irish-themed foods and beverages, decorations, games and prizes to be offered. Entertainment will feature Irish favorites by Poor Ould Goat and Crinkwater.
“We will have the dancers from the McCarthy School of Irish Dance, vendors, family activities, 50/50s door prizes and, of course, traditional corned beef and cabbage,” said Lee Patterson of the Niagara Falls AOH chapter. “We hope our celebration is our greatest yet.”
Patterson said that, as is tradition, the AOH will again collect nonperishable food items for donation to the Love, Heart & Soul in memory of “On Gorta Mor,” the Great Irish Hunger of 1845.
Tickets, at a $10 donation, can be acquired online at www.aohnf.com/tickets. They are also available at select area businesses, including Cheri Amour and Capitol Cleaners in Lewiston, and at B&B Cigars, Wellness Park Pharmacy and Always A Party in Niagara Falls.
In the photos, scenes from 2019 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. (File photos).
•Up in the Village of Youngstown, the ninth annual O’Riordan St. Patrick’s Day Parade, presented by the Youngstown Business and Professional Association, will take over Main Street starting at noon Saturday, March 14.
Chaired by YBPA President Cheryl Irish Butera and presented in memory of Neil C. Riordan, the village’s beloved former mayor, this community favorite will once again feature what has become tradition – marchers on Main with festive green-decorated shopping carts.
“We will have a YBPA decorated shopping cart as a throwback to our very first parade nine years ago that consisted of a single shopping cart ‘float’ decorated by Stephanie Cattarin, YBPA board member,” Butera said.
Increasing in popularity over the years, she said the shopping cart parade now has “multiple joiners, including the Youngstown and Ransomville volunteer fire companies, police departments, VFW members, Lion Club members, elected officials from Village of Youngstown, as well as Town of Porter. And all of our (YBPA) members (who) decorate either a vehicle or a shopping cart sporting the theme of their businesses in green.”
“If anyone needs/wants a shopping cart to decorate, all they have to do is ask!” she said.
Town of Porter Councilman Tim Adamson, who will serve as parade grand marshal – complete with sash – will lead the parade this year. Butera said the parade will open with tribute to Riordan at Main and Hinman streets by Old Fort Niagara Executive Director Robert Emerson and conclude with a call to arms ceremony by OFN soldiers in front of the Ontario House (Jug) at Main and Lockport streets.
In between, there will be community fun – and plenty of it.
“Many entrants are expected this year,” Butera said.
Included are Youngstown’s MacKenzie Highlanders’ Pipes and Drums, U.S. Coast Guard Station Niagara Youngstown, Youngstown Police, Ransomville’s American Legion Post No. 830, Youngstown Lions, the Youngstown Free Library, Lakeside Quarterhorses, Skydive the Falls, Niagara Jet Adventures, Niagara Clown Alley, Porter Empty Return, the Niagara Falls Ancient Order of Hibernians, the McCarthy School of Irish Dance, KI-PO Chevrolet of Ransomville, Bandanas of Youngstown, Weibert’s Autoplace, Youngstown, and a Discover Niagara Shuttle mini-bus. K&D Action Photo & Aerial Imaging of Ransomville will film the parade from above.
She said The Youngstown Diner will again offer warm potato soup to parade watchers along the route with help from the diner staff, which “has been a tradition since our very first parade.” The parade concludes with an “aftertheparadeparty” at the Jug.
“We’ll have with live music provided at the end of the parade by the Youngstown MacKenzie Highlanders’ Pipes and Drums. At that point, there will be judging and prizes for best entrant in the children’s category as well as the best adult category,” Butera said. “Hon. Judge David Truesdale will be our judge for the winning ‘floats.’ Later in the day, the Ontario House will have live music by the band ‘The Tower,’ as well as serving Irish-themed food offerings.”
Butera added, “The Youngstown Galley’s Rebecca Poletti invites folks to come in for good, old-fashioned corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread pudding, green beer, and even a special green Perry’s Ice Cream to welcome the new De Dee’s Dairy to Youngstown (expected to open by April 1).”
And Anchor Spirits will offer tastings of Irish cream liquor and feature live music from members of the Niagara Frontier Fiddle Club, with Larry Brennan, Rich Jagow and VanDee Van Deusen performing inside the shop after the parade.
Youngstown events are free and open to the public Butera. For more information, visit the YBPA’s Facebook page or contact Butera at 745-7989.
•The truly entertaining Irish Wake Band, featuring Somewhere’s Pat Stack of Youngstown plus a number of talented musicians from the Niagara area, will serve up a night of old Celtic favorites and newbies from the Emerald Isle from 6-11 p.m. Saturday, March 14, at The Falconwood at Beaver Island on Grand Island. Find more information on the band’s Facebook page.
Yes, with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to suit all tastes, Buffalo-Niagara certainly seems like to place to be to get your fill come next weekend and beyond.
In the photos, scenes from 2019 St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. (File photos).