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Bostonians Lucky On St. Patty's Day

Assoc. News Editor

Published: Sunday, March 18, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 18:01

Boston has been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day since Massachusetts was only a British colony, and the city’s passion for the holiday has not diminished at all in over 250 years.

The annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in South Boston is the city’s largest celebration. Started in 1804, this parade has grown to attract crowds of 600,000 to one million people annually and is now second in size only to the New York City St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Bagpipe bands and marching bands from all over America travel to Boston to march in the parade, which begins at the Broadway T station and ends at Andrew Square in South Boston. Though the actual parade does not start until 1 p.m., it  is not unusual to see the route of the parade already lined with people by 9 a.m.

To counter past issues with alcohol at the parade, this year Boston Police implemented surveillance cameras alongside the parade route to monitor crowds. The city also restricted liquor stores’ hours from noon to 4 p.m. and forced all bars to close by 7:30 p.m.

A somewhat more recent St. Patrick’s Day tradition in Boston are the annual St. Patrick’s Day shows of hometown band Dropkick Murphys. This Irish-influenced punk rock band, which many Boston College students may know for their cover of “For Boston” and their stadium anthem “I’m Shipping Up to Boston,” rocked the House of Blues every night from Wednesday to Friday last week.

Faneuil Hall Marketplace hosted a celebration of Irish culture all day Saturday with a series of free performances at The West End Stage, including the bagpipe group The Bay State Pipers, and Irish dance groups from the Wood School of Irish Step Dancing and the O’Dwyer School of Irish Dance. Cheers Boston, also located in Faneuil Hall, offered a special Corned Beef and Cabbage and Irish Beef Stew dinner.

Bar crawls are an ever-popular means of celebration in Boston on Saint Patrick’s Day, and pub and bar owners anticipate the holiday all year, looking forward to the unusually high profits they always receive. A different sort of crawl, a guided tour of the Boston Irish Heritage Trail, is also a popular St. Patrick’s Day event. On Saturday and Sunday, guided tours were offered by the Boston Irish Tourism Association. These tours visit 20 sites in downtown Boston over a three-mile stretch and teach participants about 300 years of Irish history in Boston.

Some of the most active St. Patrick’s Day celebrants participated in the annual St. Patrick’s Day Road Race 5k. A field of over 1,500 runners competed in the race, which benefits the South Boston Boys and Girls Club.

Boston was lucky enough to have beautiful weather both Saturday and Sunday. Though late season snowstorms have fallen on St. Patrick’s Day in the past, the weekend’s high temperature was above 70 degrees. The sunny conditions all weekend were perfect for one of America’s most Irish cities to celebrate one of its most beloved holidays

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