St. Patrick’s Day parades and activities in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS - The Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in St. Louis will take place on Saturday, March 17, 2018, St. Patrick’s Day, starting at 1:00 p.m.

The parade starts at 20th and Market Streets and proceeds east on Market to Broadway and then south on Broadway where it will disband at Clark Street. Market Street will be closed at 7:30 a.m. from Compton to Broadway. The parade, also known as St. Louis’ "Rite of Spring," will feature over 130 units, including floats, bands, marching units, large helium-filled balloons, and over 5,000 marchers.

In the past with good weather, more than 350,000 spectators have gathered along Market Street to watch the elaborate floats, marching bands, marching units, dance groups, animal units, novelty units, and motorized units.

The children's favorites – giant cartoon character helium-filled balloons – will be featured in the parade. Each balloon will have its own team of handlers, usually employees of the corporate sponsor of the balloon in question.

The 40th Annual Michelob ULTRA St. Patrick’s Day Parade Run will precede the parade at 9:00 a.m.

St. Louis Irish Consul Joseph McGlynn noted the support the run has received over the years from Anheuser-Busch.

“From the very first run 40 years ago, Anheuser-Busch was there supporting our efforts,” said McGlynn.

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade Run is St. Louis’ largest locally organized run. It covers a five-mile course which will begin on Broadway just south of the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark hotel in front of the Ballpark Village (Broadway between Walnut and Clark Streets) and conclude at 8th and Market Streets. In addition, this year will also feature a three-kilometer run which will be part of the five-mile course.  Runners will then be directed to the Michelob ULTRA Runners Village at The Ballpark Village at 7th and Walnut Streets. Ballpark Village will also be the site of this year’s Irish Village featuring a live band, food, and beverage which will be open prior to, during and after the parade.

Over 8,000 runners, walkers and wheelchair racers of all ages participated in the 2017 St. Patrick’s Day Run.  There are 13 different age categories for both male and female competitive runners, ranging in age from under14 to 70-plus years.  Prizes will be awarded in age categories for both men and women, including “14 and under” and “70 and over.”

The fun continues in Dogtown as generations of Saint Louisans have celebrated Saint Patrick’s Day in Dogtown, but this March 17, visitors to the old South Saint Louis neighborhood might notice a few changes.

The Annual Ancient Order of Hibernians Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, where the Hibernians proudly march down Tamm Ave, followed by scores of Irish families, will be starting earlier than usual. This year the parade kicks off at 10:00 a.m., instead of 12:30 p.m.

This year both the Dogtown and the Downtown Saint Patrick’s Parades are on the same day, so public safety officials requested that the Hibernians move up the start of their parade. The Downtown Parade is also moving back an hour to 1:00 pm.

In addition, the Hibernians feel that an earlier starting time could provide a more “family friendly” environment, where parade watchers could focus on enjoying the parade itself, and not be caught up in the “party atmosphere” that surrounded the event at its usual midday start time.

The Hibernians created the parade in 1984 to both honor Saint Patrick as the Apostle of Ireland and to highlight to the Saint Louis community the themes of Irish heritage, history, faith, and culture. However, the Hibernians have not forgotten that March 17 is also a day of celebration, for both the Irish and the “would be” Irish.