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Let the St. Patrick's Day celebrations begin!


Fri, Mar 8th 2024 11:00 am

Youngstown’s ‘O’Riordan Parade’ a must-see

√ Nearly 25 St. Patrick’s events in Buffalo-Niagara

By Terry Duffy


As the hype builds toward that total solar eclipse next month, there’s another equally fun event that’s just around the corner: St. Patrick’s Day!

An annual favorite, plans are again shaping up by many to celebrate all things Irish – with social gatherings, religious observances, dinners, parades, theatrical productions, parties and more on the weekend of March 16-17.

Again, Buffalo-Niagara ranks high in WalletHub’s annual ranking of the nation’s 200 largest cities when it comes to enjoying St Patrick’s Day. The metro is listed at No. 8 overall for 2024 list and an impressive No. 6 among cities when it comes to St. Patrick’s Day traditions.

“St. Patrick’s Day celebrates the Irish, but it’s become a beloved cultural holiday for millions of Americans regardless of their ancestry,” WalletHub analyst Cassandra Happe wrote. “The best cities for St. Patrick’s Day combine rich traditions with tasty and affordable food, safe conditions to celebrate, and good weather. Celebrating in one of these cities will increase your chances of having a memorable holiday, as long as you don’t overdo it.”

With so much going on, where do you even begin? Well, as often said here, it’s all about keeping things local. Here are some good ones to check out in the NFP coverage area:


Submitted St. Patrick's Day file photos.


•Grand Island’s Charles N. DeGlopper VFW Post 9249 Ladies Auxiliary opens the Irish celebrations with its annual corned beef and cabbage dinner from 4-7 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at 2121 Grand Island Blvd. Dinner includes corned beef, cabbage, potatoes, carrots and dessert. The cost is $15.

•The Niagara Falls Ancient Order of Hibernians will hold its 40th annual St. Patrick’s Day celebration Friday afternoon, March 15, in the Niagara Falls Convention Center. Starting at 4:45 p.m., the “world’s shortest parade” will cross over Rainbow Boulevard at Old Falls Street with a procession that includes the honorary St. Patrick, parade grand marshal Robert L. Gedeon Jr. and local officials. The festivities open at 5 p.m. in the Convention Center and continue well into the evening.

“Get ready to immerse yourself in the spirit of Ireland as we bring you an evening filled with music, dancing and good cheer,” AOH organizers said. “You'll experience the true essence of St. Patrick's Day with lively performances by The Restless Soles, thrilling step dancers from the McCarthy School of Irish Dance, and a DJ to keep you entertained all evening. There will be family-friendly games and activities to keep guests of all ages in the St. Patrick’s Day spirit.”

There will also be Irish fare, with corned beef and cabbage dinners, plus a wide selection of beverages. Come 9 p.m., the celebration will resemble a true Irish pub atmosphere, with live music, singing, dancing and more expected.

Tickets are priced at $10 in advance or $15 at the door. Children aged 12 and under are admitted free with paid adult admission. For more information, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/40th-annual-niagara-falls-aoh-st-patricks-day-party-tickets-825661916017.

Submitted St. Patrick's Day file photos.


•Next up on the “must-do” list of local favs is the 12th annual Neil C. Riordan St. Patrick’s Day Parade, at noon Saturday, March 16, along Main Street in the Village of Youngstown. The Youngstown Business and Professional Association presents the parade.

YBPA parade coordinator Cheryl Irish Butera said, “In 2011, our dear Mayor Neil Riordan died while in office. He was very beloved. He’d always wanted a St. Patrick’s Day parade. So, the year after he passed, the YBPA started a new tradition to honor Neil. This will be our 12th annual parade!”

This event had its beginnings in 2012 as a small, walk-up affair, with participants pushing green, Irish-themed shopping carts down Main Street. It has since grown to become a true community event, with military salutes, police and fire company displays, marching bands, dance troupes, school and youth sports teams, community groups, Irish-themed entertainment and some colorful participants parading along the way.

Today, what is fondly known as the “O’Riordan St. Patrick’s Day Parade” is regarded by many as one of the best reflections of small-town Irish culture in the area.

Butera welcomed visitors to be a part of this tradition. And yes, you can join in and even march if you like.

Led by parade marshal and Town of Porter Councilman Tim Adamson and Robert Emerson of Old Fort Niagara, the parade opens at Main and Hinman streets and heads north to Falkner Park. It then changes direction with an impressive military salute from OFN soldiers at Main and Lockport streets.

Butera said the parade offers something for visitors of all ages.

“This year, we will have Niagara Clown Alley clowns, the McCarthy School of Irish Dance (and) the MacKenzie Highlanders,” she said. “Bandanas Bar and Grill will have a float, the Stone Jug will have a float, as will the Porter Empty Return, the Friends of the Youngstown Free library and First Presbyterian Church with their kazoo band.”

Still more entries include This Must Be the Place guesthouse; Ki-Po Chevrolet in Ransomville; the Youngstown Village Diner, with servings of warm potato soup for visitors; Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti; elected officials from the Village of Youngstown and Town of Porter; veterans from VFW Lake Ontario Post No. 313; the Youngstown Lions; Youngstown Police and Fire departments. Word has it that Ken and Ed from the new Griffon Brewing on Lockport Street will also be making a visit.

YBPA will be represented by parade committee members Butera of Anchor Spirits, Melissa Kudel of Bandanas Bar and Grill, and Colleen Summerville, professor/counselor at SUNY Niagara.

“(We’re) carrying the YBPA banner and tossing green beads and bags of candy,” Butera said. “We'll have dancing in the street with the MacKenzie Highlanders and McCarthy School of Irish dancers, dancing to Irish music! Following the parade, there will be prizes awarded for best children's float and best adult float.”

“This is a rain-or-shine event and is completely free!” Butera said. “You won't want to miss out on this tradition in the quaint Village of Youngstown.”

For more information, visit the YBPA Facebook links at YBPA O'Riordan St. Patrick's Day Parade 2024 | Facebook

More local happenings to check out:

•The Somewhere Bar and Grill, located on Blairville Road just outside of Youngstown, will hold a special St. Patrick’s Day celebration on Sunday, March 17. The daylong event gets underway at noon and features large outdoor tents on site, plenty of Irish beverages for visitors, and a return of The Irish Wake Band on stage, providing some exceptional Celtic music.

Somewhere owner Pat Stack wrote, “Yes, we know it's a Sunday so we adjusted the hours – 12 to 7-ish. (It’s) beer trucks, tents, whiskey and drinks. As usual, the ninth annual – always and only on the day. Please spread the news – best biggest party in WNY.”

•The View Sanborn (formerly Schimschacks), at 2943 Upper Mountain Road in Sanborn, will offer its third annual St. Patrick’s Day buffet, from 3-7 p.m. Sunday, March 17. Featured will be homemade shepherd’s pie, corned beef and cabbage, and boiled ham with potato and carrots. Desserts include carrot cake, Irish cream cheesecake. And don’t forget green beer, a few St. Patrick’s Day-themed drink specials and, of course, Guinness.

A few second helpings to check out along the St. Patrick’s party trail:

•The WNY Irish pub band Stone Circle will hold a St. Patrick’s pre-party from 7-10 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, No. 1411, 7269 Ward Road, North Tonawanda. Visit https://stoncircleirish.com for more information.

•The USS The Sullivans St. Patrick’s Day celebration is 5-8 p.m. Thursday, March 14, at the Buffalo and Erie County Naval and Military Park (Canalside).

•A St. Patrick’s Day feast will be presented at 5 p.m. Friday, March 15, at the Youngstown Yacht Club, with a buffet diner and Irish dancers performing at 8 p.m.

•Singles Social Club will host a St. Patrick's Day dance from 7-10 p.m. Friday, March 15, at The Buff Social Club, 2565 Young St., Niagara Falls (use the side door). Music by Tom the DJ. The cost is $7 general admission or $5 for members. For more information, visit on Facebook (Singles Social Club) or call 716-550-1232.

•A Ukrainian St. Patrick’s Day celebration with entertainment by Captain Tom and the Hooligans is set for 7-10 p.m. March 15 at the Dnipro Ukrainian Cultural Center, 500 Genesee St., Buffalo.

•Every Person Influences Children announced the grand return of its St. Patrick's Day celebration, set to take place from noon to 3 p.m. Sunday, March 17, at The Mansion on Delaware Avenue.

A press release stated, “Join us for Buffalo's longest-running tradition in the warmth and elegance of The Mansion. Enjoy basket raffles, silent auctions, and fantastic food and drinks from The Mansion on Delaware. The celebration will be elevated with thrilling performances by the Harris Greico Irish dancers and the sounds of Danne Farrell, the bagpiper extraordinaire.

Tickets are available at www.epicforchildren.org/st-patricks-day-at-the-mansion or by calling 716-332-4100. All proceeds will benefit EPIC.

•And, of course, you can’t miss the big St. Patrick’s Day parade at 2 p.m. March 17 on Delaware Avenue in Buffalo. Among the many participants expected in this one will be ’80s band Nerds Gone Wild with an on-street float performance.

As mentioned, so much to do.

Enjoy the celebration – but stay safe!

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