Weekend Best Bets: St. Patrick’s Day Edition

The tradition continues

The tradition continues

This week’s edition is devoted to the Delray Beach St. Patrick’s Day Parade and celebration.

First the basics.

What: St. Patrick’s Day Parade & Festival

When: Mar 14 & 15

Time: Friday 5-11 pm

 Saturday  11am – 7pm

 Parade 2:30-4pm

 Cost: Free

 Where:  Delray Center for the Performing Arts (Old School Square)  & Atlantic Avenue.

  The festival kicks off on Friday with a two day Celtic Siamsa Party featuring Irish dancing, traditional pipe & drum bands, Irish storytelling, food, beer and live music. Saturday, all the fun continues from 11am – 7pm, with the parade from 2 – 4:30 pm.

For more info: Visit https://stpatrickparade.com/


The Tradition Continues

 The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is an annual tradition in Delray Beach.
It all began in 1968 when  a local pub owner by the name of Maury Powers took a stroll down Atlantic Avenue with his Shillelagh and a green pig named Petunia and declared it “My own parade.”

Do you remember Powers Lounge? We do.

Over the years the parade has evolved and has become a showcase for public safety personnel from all over the world with police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel from across America and as far away as Belgium, Ireland, Australia, and Canada participating.

The citizens of Delray Beach continue to support the St Patrick’s Day Parade in droves, with huge crowds lining the avenue to celebrate and honor their Irish friends and heritage.

Every year a different municipality and / or region is put up front to lead all of the other communities that are represented by the uniformed personnel. To date, the following communities have been showcased up front to lead the parade.

 2009 – Martin County

 2010 – Miami Dade County

 2011 – Pompano Beach

 2012 – Delray Beach

 2013 – Belgium and Australia



Irish Heritage with Police Officers and Firefighters


Following the great potato famine in Ireland during the 18th century many Irish immigrated to the United States of America, bringing their traditions with them. Work for these immigrants was often very difficult to find. Factories and shops displayed signs reading “NINA” meaning No Irish Need Apply. The only jobs they could get were the civil service jobs that were dirty, dangerous or both — firefighters and police officers — jobs that no one else wanted. Both of these careers were considered undesirable due to low pay, few benefits, and poor working conditions. The Irish gladly accepted these careers because it was a way to become a part of mainstream America, and it was a way to give back to their new country.


The Irish transformed the job of night watchman and fire watch into the organized police and fire departments we see today. Gradually, the Irish started many of the traditions that are still in existence today. The Irish-American police officers and firefighters would march in full uniform at various parades across the United States, including the St. Patrick’s Day parade. They were very proud of their Irish heritage, and equally proud of being a police officer or firefighter.


Now being a police officer or firefighter is a badge of honor and respect. Today, both professions continue to march in parades in full dress uniform to show their pride as part of this great country and serve as positive role models to the next generation of all nationalities.


Saint Patrick

 Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well-known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.


Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly, however, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick’s Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.

Your DelrayBoca.com would like to acknowledge retired firefighter John Fischer and his team of volunteers for keeping the tradition alive.

Have a wonderful and safe St. Patrick’s Day.

Please keep the following logistics in mind.

During the parade (2:00 pm – 4:30 pm), the following road/bridge closures, paid parking facilities and modified trolley service will be in effect:


Road Closures – Atlantic Avenue (from A1A to SW 5th Avenue) and the Intersection of Atlantic Avenue & Northbound/Southbound US1 Federal Highway (NE/SE 5th & 6th Avenues)


On Saturday, March 15th at 11:00 am, Atlantic Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic from Ocean Blvd/A1A to NW/SW 5th Avenue.  Roads will reopen to vehicular traffic as the parade completes that section of the route; however, Atlantic Avenue between NE/SE 5th Avenue and Swinton Avenue will remain closed until 6:00 pm to allow for pedestrian traffic.   Other sections of Atlantic Avenue will reopen beginning right after the parade.

From 2:00 pm to approximately 4:30 pm, northbound and southbound US1 Federal Highway (NE/SE 5th & 6th Avenues) at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic for the duration of the parade.

Alternative Routes During Road Closures

  • For Eastbound/Westbound Travel – motorists are advised to use George Bush Blvd or Linton Blvd as alternative routes.
  • For Northbound/Southbound Travel – motorists are advised to use Ocean Blvd/SRA1A or Congress Avenue as alternative routes.


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