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St. Patrick’s Parade bringing 100-plus units to Main Street

3/6/2014 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Among those who participated in last year’s parade are, from left, Kathleen Savich, of Tallmadge, and Rita Flinn, of Akron, who are shown with family friend and Parade Grand Marshal Jack Charles, of Cuyahoga Falls.
Photo: Krista Galloway
DOWNTOWN AKRON — Akron’s Irish community will honor the patron saint of Ireland and members of the military in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

More than 100 units are expected to be part of the 33rd annual parade March 15, according to chairman Leo Stalter, of New Franklin. The parade steps off at noon from South Main and Exchange streets and ends at Bowery Street.

“We get anywhere from 8,000 to 10,000 people, depending on the weather,” Stalter said of the parade, sponsored by the Mark Heffernan and Margaret Judge divisions of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH). It’s a free event, he noted, and is a gift from the area’s Irish community.

This year will feature the theme “Salute” in honor of the nation’s men and women in uniform, Stalter said. Honor/color guards in the parade will be from the Summit County Hibernians, 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, the U.S. Marine Corps, the Akron Police Department, Chesty Puller Young Marines and Kenmore’s American Legion Post No. 449. In honor of all fallen soldiers, a riderless horse will be behind one of the units, Stalter said.

The parade also will feature Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic, whose appearance will help the longtime mayor celebrate 40 years of public service, Stalter said.

Also expected to participate are Irish national, state and local dignitaries, as well as members of AOH Divisions from Medina and Summit counties.

Stalter said University of Akron football coach Terry Bowden will take part in his second St. Patrick’s Parade. Mascots appearing this year include Orbit from the Akron RubberDucks, Metro Leaf from the Metro Parks with bike patrol riders and Wheelie from the Akron Racers.

Among the new parade participants this year are Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, MAPS Air Museum, Walsh Jesuit High School Marching Band and Captain Eyeball.

The St. Augustine and St. Sebastian Elementary Marching Band, Urquhart Scottish Dancers, Sharon Rae Dancers, Archbishop Hoban High School Drum Corps and the Carnation City Twirlers also will entertain, along with the St. Vincent-St. Mary High School Band and Irish Dancers, Hibernian Hurling Club, Irish “C” Charters, Irish Wolfhounds, MacConmara Irish Dance Academy and O’Hare Irish School of Dance.

Professional judges will rate the units at the reviewing stand located across from Lock 3 Park, and awards will be announced following the parade at Lock 3.

After the parade, all are invited to the Hibernian Club, 2000 Brown St., for the After Parade Celebration featuring live Irish music and typical Irish fare. Admission is $5.

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

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