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York Saint Patrick's Day Parade: 4 floats to see

Get your green out. St. Patrick's Day is almost here.

For the last 33 years, York has celebrated the holiday with a parade downtown, and this year is no exception.

On Saturday, March 12, about 90 entries – including bands, dancers, floats and more – will march through Continental Square. The parade steps off at 1 p.m. from Market and Penn streets and proceeds east on Market to Duke Street.

Here are a few entries to watch for if you go.

The Walsh clan's Irish cottage

If you’ve been to the York Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in the last several decades, you’ve probably seen the Walsh clan. The Irish family – led by York Catholic High School graduate Ward Walsh – first walked in the parade 33 years ago with just a poster board and their dog Molly, dyed green for the occasion. Since then, they’ve upped their game, adding close to 30 family members and an Irish cottage float to their entry.

This year, the Walsh clan is stepping up even further by bringing nearly 50 family members from across the country to York to walk alongside their newly updated float. Formerly built of cardboard, this year’s float will be a more permanent structure made of wood with a stone façade and thatched roof, Ward’s daughter Mieke Driscoll said.

The float will ride behind Ward Walsh, who will lead the parade as this year’s grand marshal.

All of the Irish dancers

You can’t have a St. Patrick’s Day Parade without Irish dance. This year’s parade will have more dance groups than ever before, organizer Mary Yeaple said.

New to the parade is the Lancaster-based Paloma School of Irish Dance. The school became certified in May and now has about 25 students, including 9-year-old Mid-Atlantic Regional Irish Dance champion Isaiah Pujol and 17-year-old Christy Martin who plays the fiddle while she dances.

Returning Irish dance groups include NiRiain School of Irish Dance, Oh! Gill’s Irish Dancers, Carraig School of Irish Dance, Hooley School of Irish Dance and McGinley School of Irish Dance, which will bring 120 participants.

Make sure to come downtown early to see complete performances from the dancers during the pre-parade entertainment, which starts at 11:15 a.m.

St. Patrick’s School's heavenly float

Every year, St. Patrick’s School involves the entire student body from preschool to sixth grade in a project to build a Saint Patrick’s Day float. And every year, it’s elaborate and different, Yeaple said.

This year’s float is called “A Litany of Irish Saints.” Students will write and decorate prayers to Irish saints Patrick and Bridget and attach them to the float in a way that looks like the prayers are going up to heaven, parent volunteer Elisa Cialini said. Clouds will line the sides of the float, and students will dress up as Saint Patrick and Saint Bridget and sing a song.

When it’s done, it will look like an Irish heaven, Cialini said.

York Water Company 200th anniversary float

A York Water Company float will be a new addition to the parade this year.

To celebrate its 200th anniversary, the company has created a replica scene of boring out the logs used to install York’s first wooden pipes in 1816. Representatives from the company will also dress up in period costumes, York Water Company president Jeff Hines said.

“We just wanted to let people know about the 200th anniversary,” he said. “And to throw Smarties into the crowd.”

If you go

What: Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

When: 1 p.m. Saturday, March 12

Where: The parade will step off from Market and Penn streets and proceed east on Market to Duke Street in downtown York.

Parking: Parking will be restricted on Market Street from Belvidere Avenue to Penn Street at 9 a.m. and from Penn Street to Queen Street at 11 a.m. No parking is allowed on George Street from Philadelphia Street to King Street after 11 a.m.

Note: Bicycles, roller blades, skateboards and dogs are prohibited on the parade route.

More info: Check the parade Facebook page or visit

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.)