Chairs began to appear on the sidewalk as early as 8:30am on Sunday. By noon there were about 1,000 people lining up along Main and West Streets in Annapolis. At 1:00pm when the 4rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicked off, more thousands lined the streets to watch 100 marching units, drum and pipe bands, dancing troupes, floats, firefighters, and organizations celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in Annapolis–11 days early.
WRNR was broadcasting live from Fado Irish pub near the start of the parade. Governor Hogan was on hand and walked the route shaking hands and saying hello along the way. Police and fire units from New York City and Boston were in attendance as well as pipe and drum bands from near and far along with a large contingent of wounded warriors.
The parade, and the entire concept of Irish Week is the brainchild of John O’Leary who founded a non-profit called Warrior Events. The events this week will benefit the organization that brings wounded warriors and their families from Walter Reed Medical Center to experience events. Trips to New York and Boston for hockey games, tailgates at Navy football and lacrosse, and this year, the Hooley (big Irish party) held at the Loews Annapolis Hotel on Saturday night.
The events are held early for a few reasons as explained by O’Leary. “Winter is tough in Annapolis and most businesses can hold their own on St. Paddy’s Day and St. Paddy’s Day weekend. We wanted to bring commerce to the City during a time when it is needed and help out the local businesses.” There was also some selfish reasons for the timing as well. “A lot of the units we have here would never come to Annapolis on St. Paddy’s Day. They will be in New York, Philly, DC, or Boston. This way, we can attract world class units, and the units get another chance to entertain.”
All images ©2016 Glenn A. Miller Photography