ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — The Irish Marching Society once again hosted Rockford’s “St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Paddyfest” on Saturday.
It kicked off on 7th Street before heading north on E. State and then west to Water Street. The parade was followed by a celebration at The Standard.
This St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been in the making since last fall, and it finally came on Saturday for the 47th year.
“We usually up in State and Madison area, kinda around where it ends,” said parade participant Steve Gould. “Usually, we’ll get to see a little bit more of the city. They are dying the river green here today I guess for the first time. That is kinda exciting to see.”
Participants like Gould travel all the way from Byron just to celebrate the lucky day; St. Patrick’s Day. There is a float judging, Irish music, food and beverages. The Rock River was also dyed green emerald this year.
“We’ve done it in the past somewhat. This year we are going all out,” said parade coordinator Michael Boland. “We were pretty much rookies, you know, at first this year. We got it all planned out, so everybody needs to see how cool it is going to be.”
Boland said that this doe not only bring people together, but also helps local business.
“It brings the city together, that’s for sure,” he said. “You will see, these streets will be lined with people that come downtown and just enjoy this day as much as we do, and it just brings the city together. Everybody enjoys it.”
Vince Schaefer participated in the parade for his second year with the Screw City Jeeps. He said that this is a perfect way to be with the community and spread cheer, happiness and celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
“I’m just mostly excited for seeing the kids, you know, having a lot of fun, putting smiles on peoples’ faces, that’s the main reason what I do what I do,” Schaefer said. “And, my wife and my dog over there do just to put a smile on peoples’ faces and spread cheer.”
Gould said that he was happy that the community can come together to celebrate Irish ancestry.
“Well, we are a melting pot, right, and lately, with the politics and everything else bringing everybody apart, it’s nice to bring people together,” he said.