St Patrick’s Day is celebrated in every town, village and city in Ireland, along with many larger cities around the world. Traditionally there is a St Patrick’s Day Parade where local, national and international clubs, businesses and communities showcase music, dance, drama and skills. People come out in their hundreds and sometimes thousands to enjoy the spectacle, which makes it lots of fun, but also a family activity that requires a little planning. We have a list of top tips and essentials for going to a St Patrick’s Day Parade to make sure everyone enjoys themselves!
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I have watched and taken part in countless St Patrick’s Day Parades over the years. They are always great fun for kids and adults and a day to celebrate being Irish. Having struggled through rain, hail, snow and blistering sun, here are my top 10 essentials for the St Patrick’s Day Parade
Essentials for Going to a St Patrick’s Day Parade
#1. Put Your Best Foot Forward
Comfortable shoes are top of my list when it comes to going to the St Patrick’s Day Parade.
You could be standing or walking for a couple of hours and if you have smallies in tow, you will probably end up having to carry them too.
#2. Layer Up
The weather in March is always unpredictable. The only way to combat this is to wear layers of clothing that can be easily added to or removed as you freeze or bake!
Remember to pack the sunscreen and the umbrella too!
#3. Fly the Flag
If your children are in school or creche they will most likely arrive home with flags, badges, hats and other items in green, white and gold created especially for St Patrick’s Day.
If the weather permits, get them out to wave as the parade goes past. Or pick up a small tricolour to shake and join in the fun with.
#4. Something Green
Whether you go all out with a full green ensemble or don a bunch of shamrocks on your lapel, it is good to get into the holiday spirit by going green for St Patrick’s Day.
From hats to hair slides and green shoes or wellies to jumpers and jackets to face painting flags and shamrocks, get creative this St Patrick’s Day!
#5. Thirsty Work
All that waiting, shouting, walking and cheering is thirsty work. And while a cohort of spectators can enjoy liquid refreshment from St James Gate, if you have children, chances are it will be strictly H2O for you! Pack drinks for yourself and the children as every shop near the parade will be sold out in no time.
Be sure to limit it though, as you don’t want to lose your precious spot with trips to the toilet, that is, if you can find one nearby!
#6. Get There Early!
No matter how big or small your parade, one thing is guaranteed, it will be 2 or more deep with people in places. So to ensure you get your perfect spot, get there early.
For younger children, bring a buggy, it may be cumbersome to get around, but you’ll be happy you brought it after the first hour waiting for the action to start.
Slightly older children usually get to sit or stand along the kerb, just be sure you can see them and arrange a place to meet if you get separated.
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#7. Make Some Noise
Get in the party atmosphere with a whistle, hooter, horn or other ‘musical’ instrument. This is a great way to cheer on those marching and save your voice too!
#8. Food Glorious Food
Pack lots of snacks and small bites from crackers to sweet treats, to filled rolls and fruit, you will need to fuel the troops to enjoy the parade.
Be sure to stock up in advance, as on the day, you may not find it so easy to get to the shops!
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#9. Power Up
You will want to take loads of photos and videos of the Parade as it passes and of your children enjoying it. Be sure to have lots of storage available on your phone and that it has full battery life before you come out. It is no harm to pack a portable power bank, just in case.
#10. Stepping Up
My final suggestion may be controversial but I saw this at a recent parade and was wowed. The parents had 3 children, one in a buggy and one who was tall enough to see over the crowd, but for the middle child they had packed a small step ladder. They placed it in front of the Dad and the little fella was able to stand tall and see all the acts as they went past.
Another addition, could be a portable stool. We have a couple that we use at swim meets, and they will definitely be coming to this years St Patrick’s Day Parade!