A crowd gathers to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Royal Oak last year.

A crowd gathers to watch the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Royal Oak last year.

File photo by Donna Agusti


St. Patrick’s Day parade, pipers coming to the streets

By: Sarah Wojcik | Royal Oak Review | Published March 4, 2019

 Roberta Meredith, of Wixom, displays her Irish spirit during the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Royal Oak last year. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. March 16 this year.

Roberta Meredith, of Wixom, displays her Irish spirit during the St. Patrick’s Day parade in downtown Royal Oak last year. The parade will begin at 10 a.m. March 16 this year.

File photo by Donna Agusti

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ROYAL OAK — May the road rise up to meet you.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day parade will return to paint the town green at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 16. The parade will kick off at Royal Oak Middle School, travel south down Washington Avenue to Seventh Street and end at St. Mary Catholic Church.

During the parade, Washington Avenue will close between Catalpa Drive and West Lincoln Avenue.

The event, sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hibernians-O’Brien Division for the last two decades, annually signals the arrival of spring in the city. The AOH is an Irish Catholic fraternal organization.

Carol Hennessey, who has volunteered with the parade since its inception, said she expects 50-60 groups to march in the parade, including sports groups, local businesses, a “big head” of Father Solanus Casey from The Parade Company, Irish bands and bagpipers, and an array of Irish clans.

Daniel Malone, CEO of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Detroit, will take on the role of grand marshal this year.

“Everybody has different kinds of greens and outfits and hats and glasses and anything you can think of, but they’re all green and they’re all happy and excited to be there for the parade and for St. Patrick,” Hennessey said.

She encouraged attendees to bring lawn chairs and blankets to set up along the parade route, and for children to bring a bag to collect treats and trinkets from those walking in the parade.

“Nobody is allowed to throw anything, but they are allowed to pass out necklaces and candy,” she said.

Parking will be available in the city’s parking decks and along the street. Parking meter enforcement will not begin until 11 a.m.

Officials advise that those attending the parade arrive downtown early to find a good place to park and to stake out a spot for watching the festivities.

Event organizer Jo Dare, who was born in Ireland, said her family moved to Royal Oak in the late 1950s.

“I’ve grown up here,” she said. “St. Patrick’s Day is a wonderful time of year and a wonderful time to reflect on our Irish heritage. The parade is a family-friendly event, and we hope people just come out and enjoy themselves.”

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