With 100 groups following the green line down Main Street and nearly 15,000 people in town, the Pittston St. Patrick’s parade marked a successful sixth year.
“I think it was the best yet,” said Sarah Donahue, city events coordinator.
Despite a snowstorm in the area the Friday evening before the parade, Saturday dawned with 40 degree temperatures and enough sun to melt any snow lingering on the roads.
“The luck of the Irish is strong in Pittston,” Donahue said.
Donahue and the parade committee spent months organizing and fundraising for the main event on March 2, booking four pipe and drum bands and the parade’s first ever shamrock balloon.
“I spoke to a lot of first time paradegoers,” she said. “They loved it.”
Before the main event could get under way, two features of the parade had to be crowned in the Little Miss and Little Mister Shamrock pageant.
Xander Hospoder, 5, of Pittston won the title of Little Mister Shamrock, and Lexi McCabe, 4, of Hanover Twp., was crowned Little Miss Shamrock for this year’s parade. The pair won the chance to ride in the first division of the parade as it wound its way down Main Street.
Still before the parade could get underway, local runners competed in the Leprechaun Loop, a one mile race along the parade route. Donahue said 82 participants entered the race, with their registration fees benefitting the Care and Concern Ministries of St. John the Evangelist Church of Pittston and through a partnership with Ryan’s Run, Allied Services.
Christopher Hine, 15, of Plains Twp., won the men’s division of the race by clocking a five minute, 13 second mile, and Kristen Lombardo of Pittston clinched the women’s division with a time of seven minutes, 19 seconds.
Donahue said organizers are still calculating the profit from the race, but they plan to donate as much as possible between the two causes.
“As much as we can, we’ll give,” she said.
Donahue has always maintained Pittston’s parade as a family friendly affair, but once the main event ended, this year did see plenty of downtown businesses and bars keeping the revelry going.
“All of the businesses were very busy,” Donahue said. “People are really coming out and enjoying the whole day.”
With this year’s parade come and gone, Donahue said she and the committee plan to get some sleep before tackling preparations for next year. Although it may seem as though the parade simply happens as long as floats and groups show up, Donahue stressed it takes a full year of fundraising and work to put the parade on year after year.
“All in all it costs about $20,000,” she said.
Year after year, Donahue said donors and sponsors make the parade possible.
“I’m always so humbled when people donate,” she said. “I’m honored people love the parade like I do. Without them, there is no parade.”