March: many see it as a stepping stone on the path to spring and summer, but for people of Irish persuasion, this month heralds one of the most important days of the year, and certainly the most significant holiday! In celebration, Louisville will once again unfurl the St. Patrick's Day Parade, sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), on Saturday, March 10.
Called the "people's parade" by those who know and love it, an estimated 40,000 either marched or watched the St. Patrick's Day Parade in 2011. Back by popular demand, it will be prefaced this year by several events in the beginning of March to kick off the celebrations. On March 8, a "Blessing of the Beer" will be held at 5:30 p.m. at the BBC Brewery on East Main Street. Live music will follow at 6:30 p.m. at O'Shea's Irish Pub on Baxter Avenue, where special Irish menu items will be available for a limited time. The parade itself will officially commence on Saturday at 3 p.m. along the Baxter-Bardstown Road corridor, and will feature as many as 125 units and decorated vehicles. Look for variations on this year's parade theme, "Shamrocks and Shillelaghs," within the fun adornments!
Particular to this year's parade will also be the honoring of Father Patrick Dolan, Brigadier General and Chaplain for the Army National Guard, and Tim Clark, kidney donor. Father Dolan is a highly decorated veteran, having served in Iraq, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt, and currently pastors within the Archdiocese of Louisville; Clark donated a kidney last year to save the life of a fellow Trinity alumnus and is the current owner of Mulligan's Pub in the Highlands. These two outstanding citizens will receive the Hibernian's highest honors as the 2012 Irish Persons of the Year, and will be recognized at a special noon mass at St. Louis Bertrand on March 10. They will also serve as grand marshals of the parade, so make sure to wave to them as they lead the pack!
The AOH is an Irish-Catholic fraternal organization claiming over 120 members in Louisville of all ages and backgrounds. It is also the oldest and largest Irish cultural organization in the United States, and supports local charities here within the River City. For more information about the 2012 St. Patrick's Day Parade or about the AOH in general, contact Erin Fischer at (502)-724-9991, or visit www.LouisvilleIrish.com