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The Holyoke St.

Patrick’s Day Parade has a long and rich history in western Massachusetts.

It all began in 1952 when the first parade was hosted on March 16th, drawing a crowd of 25,000 people.

Over the years, the parade has grown in popularity, with 100,000 people watching in 1960, 200,000 in 1975, and a peak of over 400,000 in 2011.

The parade features prize-winning floats, championship bands from the northeast, and notable celebrities each year.

Musical units include international bands, high school bands, and the famed Philadelphia Mummers String Bands, an annual favorite since 1967.

Since 1955, a Grand Colleen and her court have reigned over the annual parade from a majestic float that carries them along the nearly three-mile parade route.

Other local cities also elect their own colleens and courts and are represented by police, fire, and dignitaries.

What began as a modest celebration has grown into one of the premier outdoor events in the northeast, with an economic impact in excess of $20 million dollars.

Coupled with the Saint Patrick’s Road Race held annually the day before the parade, the Holyoke St.

Patrick’s Parade is a sight and sound extravaganza that always seems like the last step out of winter on the way to spring.

The 2023 parade is set to kick off on Sunday, March 19th, and is expected to draw a massive crowd.

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