Cabar Feidh, a metro Detroit-based pipe and drum band, performs at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Royal Oak last year.

Cabar Feidh, a metro Detroit-based pipe and drum band, performs at the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Royal Oak last year.

File photo by Erin Sanchez


Don your green apparel for Royal Oak St. Patrick’s Day parade

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published March 6, 2018

  Stephanie Celkis, of Manchester, and Sam Gurwin, of Auburn Hills, wear festive apparel at the St. Patrick’s Day parade last year.

Stephanie Celkis, of Manchester, and Sam Gurwin, of Auburn Hills, wear festive apparel at the St. Patrick’s Day parade last year.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

  From left, sisters Aadyson Skipton, 7; Reagen Skipton, 5; and Hayden Skipton, 3, of Berkley, watch last year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Royal Oak. The parade will take place at 10 a.m. March 10 this year.

From left, sisters Aadyson Skipton, 7; Reagen Skipton, 5; and Hayden Skipton, 3, of Berkley, watch last year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade in Royal Oak. The parade will take place at 10 a.m. March 10 this year.

File photo by Erin Sanchez

ROYAL OAK — The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade, hosted by the Ancient Order of Hibernians-O’Brien Division, will start at an earlier time this Saturday — 10 a.m. March 10 instead of 11:15 a.m. — due to the cancellation of the run that traditionally precedes the parade.

Officials encourage residents to don their most festive Irish apparel and line Washington Avenue for the popular event, which heralds the arrival of spring in the city.

The parade will kick off at Royal Oak Middle School, proceed south down Washington Avenue to Seventh Street and conclude at the St. Mary parish parking lot.

Sgt. Patrick Stanton, of the Royal Oak Police Department, said there will be plenty of parking in any of the city’s parking decks. He added that Washington Avenue would be closed for the parade between Catalpa Drive and West Lincoln Avenue.

“I would add in an extra few minutes so you can get around that,” Stanton said.

He said people traditionally set up lawn chairs and blankets along the sidewalks and curbs to watch the parade, which is historically led by the Police Department’s Honor Guard, followed by the Fire Department and then the floats.

One of the features this year will be the “big head” of Father Solanus Casey from The Parade Company, according to the parade committee. The Ancient Order of Hibernians-O’Brien Division, an Irish Catholic fraternal organization, will bring a float, as is annual tradition. Other participants will include bands, sports teams, Scout groups, local businesses and more. 

This year’s grand marshal will be Steve Zanetti, the original and, until this year, only chairman of the parade. He recently retired to the Bay City area and will return to lead the parade, according to the parade committee. The Royal Oak Downtown Development Authority will serve as the honorary grand marshal.

“It’s definitely a great attraction for a lot of residents, and there are a lot of people who enjoy coming down,” Downtown Manager Sean Kammer said. “Everybody comes down and has a great time.”

Kammer said the fact that the parade will start earlier this year is fortuitous, since parking enforcement doesn’t begin until 11 a.m. He added that the Judson Center would be marching as part of the parade this year to promote that April is National Autism Awareness Month.

“It’s always a family-friendly event. Primarily, our guests are all kids and their parents,” Stanton said. “We’re hoping for some good weather this year.”

For more information, call the city of Royal Oak at (248) 246-3000.