Raleigh, also known as The City of Oaks for its many oak trees, is always adding new attractions and activities for travelers. It’s ideal for a getaway with its oak-lined streets, museums and community festivals for the entire family.
The Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival has been a cornerstone of the city’s St. Patrick's Day activities for 35 years. It's one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the region and event planners expect roughly 18,000 people in attendance. Festivities kick off with a parade that starts at the corner of East Lane Street and North Wilmington Street, running south to the corner of West Lenoir Street and South Salisbury Street. Patrons will see street performers, traditional Irish dancing, vibrant costumes, and more. The festival begins when the parade ends at the City Plaza in downtown and features live entertainment, a vendor and craft area, and Leprechaun Lane (a kid’s area with rides and games). The event aims to entertain, but also works to benefit the community by donating to charitable causes, working with the Alzheimer's Association for this year’s event. ResortsandLodges.com got the opportunity to interview Dianne Enright, Director of the Parade, to talk about this great St. Patrick’s Day celebration.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
DE: The Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival has been running for 35 years and will take place on Saturday, March 11th.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
DE: We have about 18,000 people attend the parade and festival.
RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event?
DE: We have a lot of families with children in attendance, along with multi-generational families who make it a tradition to attend together. You’ll also see groups of friends, seniors, single; really everyone comes to celebrate!
RAL: What makes this event unique?
DE: The Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival is unique in celebrating the music, dance, spoken and written word of the Celtic people.
RAL: Take me through the activities of a day at the event.
DE: Watch the parade, then stroll the streets to the festival and shop the vendors. Kids can find small amusement rides on Leprechaun Lane, along with face painting, puppet shows, and storytelling. You can catch traditional Irish and Scottish dancing on the Courthouse Steps Stage all afternoon and music can be found on the main Shamrock 'n Roll stage.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
DE: This year, we have Enter the Haggis headlining!
RAL: What will attendees find for dining options?
DE: Fair food will be available from vendors as well as a few food trucks. Beer will also be available for those of age, with sales directly supporting the parade and festival.
RAL: What is the overall environment like?
DE: The city streets of downtown Raleigh become a fun, fair-like atmosphere, full of many types of people. Tables will be available to catch a spot to eat. The City Plaza AstroTurf area will be available for folks to spread out blankets to sit and listen to music from the main stage.
RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?
DE: The main stage sits right outside of the Raleigh Marriott City Center and Sheraton Raleigh hotels.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
DE: Yes, there is a boom to the local economy as so many people are downtown on a Saturday.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
DE: Yes, each year we select a cause to send proceeds. We have donated to St. Baldrick's, For the Fallen, Helping Hand Mission, and Special Olympics just to name a few. This year we have chosen the Alzheimer's Association.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
DE: The Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade is one of the largest parades in the Southeast, and the festival offers entertainment you don't see everywhere. Try some bagpipes with your rock 'n roll. There is a lot to see and do, so get your green on!
For more information about the Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival, please visit their website.