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Pittsburgh prepares for the return of St. Patrick’s Day parade

Organizers estimate up to 250,000 people flocked Downtown for Pittsburgh's 2016 St. Patrick's Day parade.
Megan Harris
90.5 WESA
Organizers estimate up to 250,000 people flocked Downtown for Pittsburgh's 2016 St. Patrick's Day parade.

After two years of smaller celebrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pittsburgh’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is expected to return in full force this year. Public safety officials are preparing for the festivities.

“After two very challenging years, it’s understandable that people will be in the mood to celebrate one of Pittsburgh’s more beloved traditions; St. Patrick’s Day,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Lee Schmidt said in a statement. “We encourage everyone to have fun and enjoy the day, but to do so safely, remaining mindful that while the worst of the pandemic appears to have waned at this moment, it has not disappeared entirely.”

Temporary light towers will be placed in busy club and restaurant districts, such as traditional post-parade gathering spots on the South Side, Downtown and North Shore.

Open container laws will be enforced.

Pittsburgh, county, and state police will be monitoring for underage drinking, public intoxication, and drinking and driving. Paramedics and EMTs will also be stationed around the city.

The parade begins on March 12 at 10 a.m. at the intersection of Liberty and 11th streets downtown and proceeds to Grant Street and the Boulevard of the Allies before ending at Commonwealth Place.

According to organizers, it’s thethird largest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the country

This year marks the first time since 2019 that the parade will take place on its customary date, the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day. It was canceled in 2020 and postponed in 2021 due to the pandemic.

Between 3 and 6 inches of snow are expected on Saturday, but parade officials said the parade will likely continue as planned for now.

“We work closely with the City of Pittsburgh, the Dept. of Public Works, and the Dept. of Public Safety, to ensure we are acting in the best interest of all of our participants and spectators,” a spokesperson for the parade said over email. “Cancellation of the parade would come directly from the City of Pittsburgh.”

Find more details here.

Julia Zenkevich reports on Allegheny County government for 90.5 WESA. She first joined the station as a production assistant on The Confluence, and more recently served as a fill-in producer for The Confluence and Morning Edition. She’s a life-long Pittsburgher, and attended the University of Pittsburgh. She can be reached at