It took a small army of DPW workers and volunteers with shovels to make it happen, but the fifth annual Pittston City St. Patrick’s Parade stepped off as planned Saturday, March 3.
“Our committee and the city pulled of a small miracle,” said organizer Sarah Donahue.
A winter storm had buried Pittston and the surrounding area throughout the day on Friday, leaving the city’s streets and walks hardly fit for a day of celebration the following day. Donahue said she and the committee knew the storm was coming, but they all still watched apprehensively as the flakes fell steady and heavy throughout the day.
“We knew Saturday’s weather was going to be perfect, actually the warmest we’ve had in years,” she said.
They watched and waited for the storm to pass, then Donahue said a group of volunteers took to the streets around 7:30 p.m. Friday to assist the city’s DPW in making sure the downtown area would be ready for the parade, snow or no snow.
“An army of people came out with shovels and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick came, too,” Donahue said. “It really was do or die. We had the luck of the Irish on our side.”
Saturday dawned with pleasant winter weather despite the lingering piles of snow, and parade day began. Donahue said the 9 a.m. celebratory Mass at St. John the Evangelist saw a good turnout, and the following Leprechaun Loop 1-mile race had around 85 runners racing through the streets of downtown.
Nick Sommons and Aubriania Marranca won the second annual Leprechaun Loop, which wrapped up just before the parade stepped off at noon.
For the first time ever, the winners of the new Little Miss and Little Mister Shamrock pageant got to ride in the parade. Mila Schuler, 4, of Pittston and Nicky Zyblicki, 3, of Duryea, won the inaugural titles, Donahue said.
A pipe band from the New York City Police Department joined the parade this year, an addition Donahue said paradegoers truly enjoyed.
After taking a few days to reflect, Donahue said she felt extreme gratitude for the volunteers who battled the elements to make sure Pittston had its parade.
“It really warmed my heart,” she said. “They showed up, they did. I’m really, really thankful.”
Now, Donahue said, the committee will take about two weeks off before they start thinking about fundraising for the sixth annual parade.