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Huntsville goes green this weekend ahead of St. Patrick’s Day


Residents of Huntsville aren’t waiting for March 17th to hold their annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. The event in the Rocket City is set for Saturday starting at 11 am. For the first time ever, the processional will be led by the music of the pipes. Organizers say The Huntsville Fire and Rescue Pipe Band will be leading the parade. The 46th Annual Ellen McAnelly St Patrick’s Day Parade is a community event held by the Irish society of North Alabama as it approaches its fiftieth anniversary. Group President John Samples says the parade will also follow a new route..

“The parade will start from the west side of downtown, and follow a course that will go through two of the main thoroughfares through downtown, up Jefferson Street across the Southside of the Courthouse square and then back north on Washington Street.”

The parade’s namesake, Ellen McAnelly, died in 2009. She opened Finnegan’s Pub in 1977 and held the first parade in 1978 around the Huntsville Parkway. It held the bragging rights as the smallest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the United States, with only 18 people marching. The parade was held in Madison in 1997 and moved to downtown Huntsville in 1998 and was held there ever since. Samples says the parade is a lot bigger now…

“This Parade is one of the longest if not the longest running parade in the North Alabama Tennessee valley region,” said Samples. “This parade is named after the founder of the parade Ellen McAnelly and has been named after her since she passed away in 2009.”

Organizers say the event will also include floats, specialty cars, bands, leprechauns, and even an appearance by a marcher dressed as St. Patrick.

Editor's note— Parade organizers note that their event has had bagpipe music in the past, with a single piper. This is the first parade with a pipe band.

Mason Thompson is a senior at The University of Alabama and started interning at Alabama Public Radio during the fall of 2022. He’s majoring in communications with a minor in sports media. Mason has a passion to work in radio. After he graduates, he’s looking to work specifically in sports radio. Mason enjoys watching sports, hanging out with friends and watching movies.

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