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Buffalo St. Patrick's Day Parade, 1946
Buffalo St. Patrick's Day Parade, 1946. Photo courtesy United Irish-American Association of Erie County

Buffalo St. Patrick's Day Parade

Each year, thousands of people flock to downtown Buffalo to enjoy the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. The city decorates every light pole along the Delaware Avenue parade route with the tri-color flag of Ireland. Businesses along the parade route sprinkle shamrocks on their windows, and stretch banners wishing a "Happy Saint Patrick's Day."

First held on March 17, 1913, when a group of Buffalo's Irish immigrants decided to manifest their allegiance to both their native and their adopted countries, the Buffalo St. Patrick's Day Parade pays tribute to the patron saint of Ireland. First Parade Marshal Mike Quinn led a group of 5,000 marchers from the Elk Street Market Terminal to Euclid Place and back in sub-zero temperatures. After a hiatus from 1917 - 1935, the parade has been held every year since 1935, with the exception of World War II years (1942-45). The Parade was postponed for a week only once, in 1997, when more than 18 inches of snow fell and wind chills of 30 below threatened frostbite.Today four generations have worn the top hat, worn cutaways, and carried the blackthorn that belonged to Mike Quinn. Today the parade is always held the Sunday closest to St. Patrick's Day (March 17).

The United Irish-American Association works with the city of Buffalo each year to organize the parade, and each year the UIAA selects a grand marshal from among its members. The parade route was moved from Main Street to Delaware Avenue in 1981 to allow for more spectators.

Originally submitted by: Jack Quinn ,Representative (30th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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