Boston resumes St. Patty’s Day festivities



Spectators cheer from the side of the road at the South Boston St. Patricks Parade on March 17th, 2019. [MassLive Photo / Matt Frazer]

Vydalia Weatherly, Staff writer

South Boston’s St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade will take place on March 20, 2022. The parade is coming back after a two-year hiatus caused by the ongoing global pandemic. In previous years, the parade would attract about a million spectators. However, due to COVID-19 restrictions, that number will be greatly reduced. The route for the parade will be shorter than previous years, reduced to only one mile, to better combat the spread of COVID-19. Nevertheless, this year’s parade route is not completely new as it has been used pre-pandemic when there was inclement weather.

The parade will begin at 1 p.m. on Broadway T Station. It will continue the entire way down Broadway before ending on Farragut Road. Despite the COVID-19 restrictions, the parade is still predicted to be a worthwhile event. The parade will feature floats, marching bands, military vehicles, costume performers and more.

Along with the parade, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Road Race will return this year and will take place the morning of the parade. All the pubs in Boston are expected to be packed before, during and after the parade, and many establishments are even advertising drink specials to commemorate the special day.

Massachusetts held the first St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States in March 1737 in Downtown Boston. During this time, Boston was experiencing a large influx of Irish immigrants. The parade, along with banquets held throughout the city, was put on as a sign of solidarity to the new city residents. The parade was moved from Downtown Boston to South Boston in 1901. The beloved tradition continues to take place on the Sunday closest to March 17. On March 17, 1776, commemorated now as Evacuation Day, British troops were evacuated from Dorchester Heights in South Boston. The parade has continued since honoring both Irish Heritage and military service on Evacuation Day, so its return this year is much anticipated.

Dave Falvey is a Commander of the South Boston Allied War Veterans Council (SBAWVC). The SBAWVC is tasked with organizing the parade each year. “As the first American city to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day 285 years ago, we’re simply delight-ed and honored to be holding the parade again after a very long, two-year absence,” Falvey said in a recent article.

“To have such an iconic Irish brand like Guinness as headline sponsor supporting this year highlights what an important event this parade is and why it is so welcome to be back.” The support of sponsors and the community are crucial to the parade’s roots in both heritage and history.

Falvey continued, “The level of interest this year from sponsors, participants and the entire community has been incredible, showing how important these twined events are to the fabric of the city of Boston, the region of New England and beyond. We look forward to a fantastic event where all are encouraged to take part.”

Losing the parade to the pandemic was undeniably devastating last year, so this year’s is an exciting opportunity for everyone involved. Falvey’s optimism does not delude him of this year’s inherent changes. “There’s no getting away from the immense strain caused by the pandemic on public health and safety and this year’s shortened route is a recognition of this,” he said. “Due to on-going uncertainty caused by COVID-19, the Broadway route enables us to actually hold a parade after two years away, but also to hold it in a way that makes public health and safety paramount in these difficult times.”

Boston’s pride has always been one of its most commendable achievements, and the annual parade celebrating both Saint Patrick’s Day and Evacuation Day is a true testament to this loyalty to the beautiful city. Make sure you tune into the parade to satisfy your Saint Patty’s requirement for the year. As Falvey ensures that this weekend will be “a fantastic day for all.”