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Albany preparing for return of St. Patrick’s Day events after two years

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says all things green return Saturday after COVID forced cancellations in 2020 and 2021.
Dave Lucas
Mayor Kathy Sheehan says Albany's St. Patrick's Day parades return Saturday after COVID forced cancellations in 2020 and 2021.

Albany's St. Patrick's Day parades are returning after a two-year pause.

Mayor Kathy Sheehan says the marching and pipe and drum bands and all things green return Saturday after COVID forced cancellations in 2020 and 2021.

"The North Albany parade is going to kick off at noon at the North Albany American Legion post on North First Street," said Sheehan. "And then the 72nd annual St. Patrick's Day parade begins at 2 p.m. at the corner of Quail and Central Avenue."

Department of General Services Commissioner Sergio Panunzio says parking will be restricted on many streets and several roads will be closed for the family-friendly event.

"We've been working with fire and police, as well as the county, about closing streets, we put out about 400 barricades and we're expecting to put another 125 around the time that parade starts," Panunzio said. "So it's going to be cumbersome for traffic. We ask people to, if you can, walk to the parade, view the parade, we certainly want you out there. It's a great time for Albany and a great time for the Irish heritage."

Parade Committee co-chair Tim Carey is president of the United Irish Societies of the Capital Region. Carey is excited the procession is back on.

"We're finally marching down the avenue for the first time since 2019. That's three years," said Carey. "So we're really excited to come back and do this. We've been planning it since April last year, and just chipping away at it and chipping away at it. It's gonna be a good day, it's going to be well, you know, weather wise, we'll deal with it. It's been worse. I'm sure you guys can remember some parade days in the past."

The parade has always stepped off regardless of rain and wind. Temperatures were in the teens during the 2017 march.

Sheehan says the in-person parade signals the hope for the future.

"You know, we're asking people to remember, you know, kind of the rules of the road with respect to the parade, you know, no open container," Sheehan said. "This is a family friendly event. We want people to celebrate and enjoy all that downtown Albany has to offer. And I know that all of the restaurant and bar owners would join me in saying we want you to partake in those establishments. It's usually a pretty bustling day in the city of Albany. So we want you to come out and enjoy it and make a day of it."

Police Chief Eric Hawkins says a full contingent of officers will be on parade duty to ensure safety.

"I would like to just remind our residents and visitors to the parade, to be aware of the road closures, be aware of the artery roads that are feeding into Washington Ave. and some of the other major roads in the area," Hawkins said. "And to observe the pedestrians that may be in those areas and to the drive safely in those areas and, and to keep an eye out for our young, especially our kids who will be in the area and walking around."

Dave Lucas is WAMC’s Capital Region Bureau Chief. Born and raised in Albany, he’s been involved in nearly every aspect of local radio since 1981. Before joining WAMC, Dave was a reporter and anchor at WGY in Schenectady. Prior to that he hosted talk shows on WYJB and WROW, including the 1999 series of overnight radio broadcasts tracking the JonBenet Ramsey murder case with a cast of callers and characters from all over the world via the internet. In 2012, Dave received a Communicator Award of Distinction for his WAMC news story "Fail: The NYS Flood Panel," which explores whether the damage from Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee could have been prevented or at least curbed. Dave began his radio career as a “morning personality” at WABY in Albany.