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St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with downtown York's 33rd annual parade.

About 90 entries and 10,000 people are expected to turn out for the event Saturday, March 12.

Here's everything you need to know if you go.

What to bring

Before you go, be sure to print out the downloadable program available at yorksaintpatricksdayparade.org so you can follow the line of march as the entries pass by. Lawn chairs and blankets are permitted, but leave your bicycles, roller blades, skateboards, dogs and alcohol at home. They’re prohibited on the parade route.

When to arrive

The parade steps off at 1 p.m., but if you want to nab a good seat or see the pre-parade entertainment, you’ll have to come downtown early. Spectators are encouraged to arrive around 11:15 a.m. for pre-parade festivities at Continental Square, including caricatures, face painting, balloon twisting and coloring. T-shirts, hats, beads and noisemakers will also be for sale at that time.

Where to park

Downtown parking garages, including the Philadelphia Street (25 W. Philadelphia St.), King Street (15 W. King St.) and Market Street (41 E. Market St.) garages, are free to park on Saturdays. Street parking is also free, with the exception of the retail zone between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. This zone includes George Street between King and North streets, Beaver Street between King Street and Gas Avenue, Market Street between Duke Street and Pershing Avenue and Philadelphia Street between Duke Street and Pershing Avenue.

Parking will be restricted on Market Street from Belvidere Avenue to Penn Street, beginning at 9 a.m. on parade day. Beginning at 11 a.m., parking will be restricted on Market Street from Penn Street to Queen Street and on George Street from Philadelphia Street to King Street.

Also, be aware of street closures. The following streets will be closed until the end of the parade:

  • Market Street from Belvidere Avenue to Penn Street (starting at 10 a.m.)
  • Market Street from Penn Street to Queen Street (starting at 11:30 a.m.)
  • George Street from Philadelphia Street to King Street (starting at 11:30 a.m.)
  • Cross streets (starting at 12:30 p.m.)

Where to sit

A lot of people think the best place to view the parade is at Continental Square, right next to the reviewing stand. But, since bands and Irish dance groups don’t stop to perform for the judges, organizer Mary Yeaple said any seat along the parade route (Market Street from Penn Street to Duke Street) is a good one.

Yeaple recommends a seat on the sunny side of the street. Since Continental Square can get pretty crowded, she also recommends sitting closer to the beginning of the parade route. If you sit near Market and Penn Farmers Market or New Grounds Roasting Company, you can grab a bite or a coffee before the parade. Or, if you set up by the Colonial Courthouse, you’ll have wide sidewalks with plenty of room and a good view all the way up to the step-off point. Plus, you’ll be close to parking.

Pre-parade entertainment to see

Before you see close to 90 parade entries, including floats, bands, Irish dancers and more, you’ll want to check out the pre-parade entertainment. Since the Irish dance groups won’t stop to perform during the parade, your only chance to see their full-routines is between 11 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. at Central Market House, Martin Library, Yorktowne Hotel, Cherry Lane, The York Emporium and Market and Penn Farmers Market. For a complete schedule, visit yorksaintpatricksdayparade.org.

Other pre-parade entertainment include music by Celtic Trio from 9 to 11 a.m. at Central Market, a St. Patrick’s Day-themed Tannenburg organ concert from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at York County Heritage Trust’s Historical Society Museum and the Lancers Senior Alumni Drum & Bugle Corps and Emigsville Band starting at 12:15 p.m. in Continental Square.

Where to go for food/drinks after the parade

Don’t rush home right after the parade. The after-party at the Elks Lodge may be sold out, but there are still plenty of downtown bars and eateries to visit.

If you haven’t already, be sure to check out the St. Patrick’s Day specials at Central Market. Several vendors, including Bair’s Fried Chicken and Myers Salads & Pastries, will be selling Irish goodies, such as shamrock cookies and Dutch potatoes with Guinness cheese sauce.

Mudhook Brewing Co., 34 N. Cherry Lane, will also serve Irish cuisine, including bangers and mash, shepherd’s pie and Irish stew. The restaurant will also sell beer outside by the fire following the parade and have live music by the JC Fisher Band from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m.

Can’t make it downtown?

The parade will be televised live on White Rose Community Television Channel 18 and can also be viewed online at www.WRCT.tv.

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