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St. Patrick’s parade honoring U.S. Armed Forces

3/7/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Hundreds of people marched down South Main Street during a previous St. Patrick’s Parade. This year’s parade will begin at noon March 9.
Photo: Ken Love
DOWNTOWN AKRON — This year’s St. Patrick’s Parade will honor more than the patron saint of Ireland.

Organizers said the March 9 parade will feature the theme “The Irish Proudly Honor Our Men and Women in Uniform.” The 32nd annual event gets under way at noon on South Main Street, according to organizer Leo Stalter, a New Franklin resident. The parade steps off at Cedar Street and ends at Bowery Street.

Stalter said he expects more than 100 units to participate in this year’s parade, which is organized by the Mark Heffernan Division and the Margaret Judge Ladies Division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH).

To carry out the theme, Akron police and fire trucks will lead off the parade, with Irish national, state and local dignitaries following. AOH divisions from Summit and Medina counties also will appear.

In honor of fallen soldiers, a riderless horse will be behind one of the participating honor guard units from the Akron Police Department, AOH, Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus and Kenmore’s American Legion No. 449 and its Women’s Auxiliary.

New to the parade will be Terry Bowden, The University of Akron’s football coach, and floats from AirTran, Fish’s Window Cleaning and Lawndale Elementary School.

Irish-themed participants include the Hibernian Hurling Club, the Irish “C” Charters, Irish wolfhounds, Green Clovers 4-H Club, Dave the Leprechaun, MacConmara Dance Academy and the O’Hare School of Irish Dance.

Returning favorites include the St. Sebastian/St. Augustine Elementary Marching Band, Walsh Jesuit High School’s Drum Line and the Hoban High School Drum Corps, in addition to the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School Band and Irish Dancers.

Organizers said a slew of mascots also will be on hand, such as the Akron Aeros’ Orbit, Metro Parks, Serving Summit County’s Metro Leaf and the Akron Racers’ Wheelie.

Other parade units will include the New Franklin Fire Department, Buckskin Riders, Buckeye Corvettes, Rubber City Model “A” Club, Northeast Ohio Roller Derby and the Rubber City Roller Girls.

The parade is professionally judged, and winners will be announced following the parade at Lock 3 Park.

Stalter has headed up the parade effort for more than a decade.

“I can’t say it’s a hobby, but I enjoy doing it,” he said.

Following the parade, the celebration will continue at the AOH Clubroom, 2000 Brown St., which will feature entertainment and traditional Irish fare. Admission is $5. Stalter said activities also will take place at the club the following weekend, March 16-17.

For additional information, call Stalter at 330-882-3174.

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