Raleigh dons green for St. Patrick's Day parade, festival

Posted March 12, 2009 1:43 p.m. EDT
Updated March 21, 2009 10:08 p.m. EDT

— This Saturday, downtown Raleigh celebrated Irish heritage with the second-largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the southeast.

Share your pictures of the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival.

More than 4,000 marchers, including bands, floats, military units and entertainment personalities, stepped off from Cabarrus and Wilmington streets at noon. N.C. State's football Head Coach Tom O'Brien was the parade's grand marshal.

The parade also celebrated a bit of Raleigh heritage. Its theme, "Shimmering Shamrocks," honored the Shimmer Wall at the new Convention Center.

"This event focuses on over 200 years of Irish and Scotch-Irish influences the culture and history of North Carolina," said Dianne Enright, a public-relations official for the parade. "The Raleigh parade is a celebration for all ethnic groups and cultures."

The "Wearin' 'O the Green" festival kicked off in Moore Square immediately after the parade. Eire Lingus, the Celtic Rock band and Homeland was scheduled to perform, and parachuters were to land in the middle of the festival grounds. Celtic wares were for sale, and there were also be activities for children.

"Get your green on, and join the party," Enright said.

Parade-watchers and festival-goers were also asked to bring canned goods to donate to the Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina. Volunteers collected donations at the parade lineup area, along the parade route and at Moore Square.

"In memory of the more than 1 million Irish who died in the Potato Famine 160 years ago, marchers and spectators are asked to remember the hungry of North Carolina," Enright said.