A ribbon of green will soon shine through any remaining ice or snow on the roads of downtown Pittston as the city prepares for its sixth annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
The painted stripe of green will mark the parade route along Main Street in keeping with the city’s still relatively new, but much anticipated March tradition.
“At this point people know we are always the first (parade),” said city events coordinator Sarah Donahue. “I love being the first one.”
Pittston’s parade kicks off the St. Patrick’s celebrations in the area on Saturday, March 2, with several celebrations leading into the main event. The parade events start this weekend with a pub crawl Saturday, Feb. 23, and the second annual Little Miss and Little Mister Pittston Leprechaun contest at the Pittston Memorial Library at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24. The winners of the contest will march in the first division of the parade, Donahue said.
This year’s parade will feature 101 entries comprised of local businesses, bands, groups and for the first time, a “gigantic” shamrock balloon, Donahue said.
“It requires 12 handlers,” she said. “We’re super excited to see it come down Main Street.”
The balloon came from a Williamsport rental company. Donahue said the parade committee has discussed including a balloon in prior years, but decided “this was the year to do it.”
The parade roster also includes four pipe and drum bands and the return of the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile to downtown Pittston, Donahue said.
“That’s a big draw, people love it,” she said.
While the main parade event starts at noon, parade day in Pittston will see the return of a full morning of events, starting with the traditional Mass at 9 a.m. at St. John the Evangelist Church on William Street.
Just before the marchers, bands, dancers and floats flood the streets, runners and walkers will have the chance to run the parade route for the annual Leprechaun Loop one-mile run starting at 11 a.m.
Runners of all ages can pay just $15 to register for the mile-long course, and Donahue said the proceeds will be shared with Pittston’s Care and Concern Ministries and the race’s newest partner, Ryan’s Run and Allied Services.
“That has been some great exposure for us,” she said. “They do great work in other races and parades they are a part of and it’s a wonderful cause.”
Before the parade, the Salvation Army will have a hot chocolate canteen set up across the street from the Red Mill for parade participants and spectators alike to keep warm — although Donahue hopes to not have to rely on hot cocoa to stave off frigid temperatures.
“Right now it looks good … I’m cautiously optimistic,” Donahue said of the weather forecast. She said so far the forecast calls for temperatures of 38 degrees and cloudy skies, a better outlook than some previous years.
“We’ve had some very cold days,” Donahue said. “I would absolutely take 38 and cloudy.”