If a Boston winter comes and goes without debilitating snowfall occurred, did it really happen? The St. Paddy’s Day parade typically marks the beginning of spring for scores of Boston revelers (we’re impatient that way), but this year it feels a bit . . . unearned. Then again, maybe we should just thank the luck of the Irish for a mild season and move on. With the 119th iteration of the city’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade nearly upon us, there’s no time to fuss about winter angst.
So how big is Southie’s annual procession? The parade annually attracts up to 1 million spectators each year, even during inclement weather. Organized by the Allied War Veterans Council of South Boston, the parade includes marching units, military vehicles, floats, and costumed performers galore -- as many as 20,000 participants in any given year. Oh, and last year marked the reintroduction of “The Mayor of Southie.” Finalists competed to raise money for the council. This year’s winner is Christina Andrade, whose campaign poster included her dog Lincoln for “Good Boy,” so we’re in complete approval.
But tradition, schmadition. This is above all an al fresco party, an excuse for Bostonians to revel in the streets even when there’s no championship parade on the horizon (sniff). Here is everything you need to know to navigate the craziness, from the parade history, to the day-of specifics, to everything you'll be doing before, during, and after.