WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - Irish eyes will smile on Saturday as the 20th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade winds down the streets of Wilmington.
The parade starts at 11 a.m. on N 2nd and Hanover streets in downtown Wilmington.
The parade will go down N Front Street, then head right down Princess Street and left on N Water Street toward the grandstand at Riverfront Park where the St. Patrick’s Day Festival takes place immediately following the parade.
The following roads will be closed starting at 8 a.m. Saturday:
- N. Front St. between Brunswick St. to Red Cross St.
- Hanover St. between Nutt St. & N. 2nd St.
- N. Front St. between Red Cross St. & Dock St.
- Red Cross St. between Nutt St. & 2nd St.
- Walnut St. at N. Front St. (accessible from Water St.)
- Grace St. between N Water St. & N Front St. (already closed for construction)
- Princess St. between N. Front St. & N. Water St.
- Bottom of westbound Market St. at the median/Horse Carriage Tours
- Eastbound Market St. between Water St. & Front St.
- Dock St. between S. Water St. & S. 2nd St.
- Westbound lane of Dock St. at S 3rd St.
- Northbound lane of S Front St. at Orange St.
- Southbound lane of S 2nd St. between Market St. & Orange St.
According to parade organizers, all city parking garages should be open for the public to park in for the parade. That means the Market St deck, 2nd St deck, and the Nutt St deck.
The event has been recognized as one of the top 10 St. Patrick’s Day parades in small cities in America.
Downtown businesses say Saturday’s festivities bring in a lot of business.
“We’re expecting a huge turn out and a big crowd,” says Stephanie Hinesley, the General Manager a Beer Bellies. “We’re looking forward to the great specials. We’ve got the green mimosas and green beer, of course."
Paul Brown, the owner of Java Dog Cafe, has experienced ten St. Patrick’s Day Parades. He tells WECT he’s excited and is prepared for the crowd.
“[I] added a person or two to the shifts during, in particular during the parade time because it is busy,” says Brown.
First responders from the Cape Fear region will serve as grand marshals to honor their work during Hurricane Florence.
Money from the event benefits NourishNC.
The St. Patrick’s Day Festival will feature live music, dancing, food, drinks, and vendors. The fun wraps up at 6 p.m.
Although the parade takes place in downtown Wilmington, organizers said it is a community event for the entire Cape Fear region.
WECT’s Ashlea Kosikowski is the parade’s emcee.