Expect plenty of green Saturday in downtown Spokane as the 42nd annual St. Patrick’s Day parade returns after a two-year hiatus because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Really, we’re just excited to have people back downtown and participating and having fun again,” said Kevin Cotter, president of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick, the nonprofit that puts on the parade.
The parade was the first major Spokane event to be canceled because of the pandemic.
“It was a big shock back then,” Cotter said. “We were ready to go and then two days before the parade we had to cancel it, so we’re excited to get back and hosting it again.”
The parade starts at noon, and Cotter said it typically wraps up by 1:30 p.m. He said 45 to 50 parade participants are signed up, but he expects several same-day registrations.
The National Weather Service is calling for a mostly cloudy day with a high of 57 degrees.
The parade route will be the same as past years, according to the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick website. It will start on Washington Street and cross the Spokane River and Riverfront Park, before zig-zagging downtown.
It will proceed west on Main Avenue, north on Stevens Street, west on Spokane Falls Boulevard, south on Howard Street, west on Main Avenue, North on Wall Street and then west on Spokane Falls Boulevard, ending near City Hall.
Cotter said the parade staging area will change this year because of the construction of the new sports stadium. The staging area will encompass Washington Street to the west, Normandie Street to the east, Boone Avenue to the north and North River Drive to the south, according to the Spokane Police Department.
The staging change will prevent spectators from watching the parade on the north side of the Washington Street tunnel, which they were able to do in years past, Cotter said. He said spectators can watch downtown on the south side of the Spokane River.
Spokane police spokesperson Julie Humphreys said streets in the staging area will be closed to traffic from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. The parade route will be closed to traffic from 11 a.m. until the conclusion of the parade.
Former Hoopfest Executive Director Matt Santangelo will serve as the parade’s grand marshal. He and other parade dignitaries scheduled for the 2020 parade will serve as Saturday’s dignitaries.
Santangelo left his Hoopfest leadership position late last year for a job in the medical device sales industry. The former Gonzaga basketball player served as Hoopfest executive director for almost eight years.
Those wishing to participate in the parade can still do so by signing up Saturday morning at the staging area. The cost is $125 for commercial businesses and free for nonbusinesses, such as nonprofit organizations and schools.
Visit friendlysonsofstpatrick.com or “The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Spokane” on Facebook for more information.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe now to get breaking news alerts in your email inbox
Get breaking news delivered to your inbox as it happens.