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How can we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day as a family and avoid the drinking crowd?

Gary Jaffarian will let you know about parades and other fun events to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with the family—and a warning for the drinking crowd.

The area’s roots are deeply connected to the Irish immigrants coming to Boston. And while many of us are not from Irish descent, , the Greater Boston Area embraces the belief that “Everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick Day!” According to Wikipedia, people of Irish descent form the largest single ethnic group in the City of Boston, making up 15.8% of the population.

One of the oldest and largest St. Patrick’s Day Parades takes place in South Boston (“Southie”) every year. It can be a great family day watching the Southie parade or attending the parade in  Lawrence. These parades are colorful, happy events and celebrate not only the Irish, but have a deep connection to our heroes—military, veterans, and first responders—police, fire and EMTs, who all take part in the parades. Most people dress in green street clothes or more flamboyant green costumes. Be sure to check out the more than 250 photos on the Southie St. Patrick’s Day Parade web site.

Here is the information for those who want to attend either one—or both parades—this coming weekend and next weekend.

City of Lawrence—St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 1 p.m.
The parade starts on Essex St. at Amesbury Street. The Parade goes over the Casey Bridge, down Parker St., left on Salem St. across Loring St. down Salem St. to Shawsheen Rd, back to Market Street ending at Market and Loring Streets. The parade ends at Relief’s’ In, (and no, it’s not an “inn”) at One Market Street, Lawrence. The significance of the celebration at the end of the parade at the Relief’s In is that in 1977, a group of Lawrence firefighters along with a few firefighters from Methuen, North Andover, Haverhill, Lowell, Nashua and Salem N.H. had a vision. They wanted a place to call their own to hang out, tell “war stories”, have Union meetings, retirement parties and family parties. The firefighters have always played a significant role in the St. Patrick’s Day parade.

City of Boston— St. Patrick’s Day Parade is held on Sunday, March 19, 2017 at 1:00 p.m.

The parade starts at the Broadway MBTA Stop in South Boston on West Broadway (moves easterly). Click here for a map of the parade route. Your best bet for viewing the parade is to stake out a spot anywhere along Broadway. Marchers continue to Telegraph Street to Dorchester Street and end at Andrew Square in So. Boston.

Other St. Patrick’s Day events in Boston include:

Dropkick Murphys:  It’s a St. Patrick’s weeklong tradition! Boston’s own Dropkick Murphys, famous for their song “Shipping Up to Boston,” do a string of hometown shows at the House of Blues.

Guided Walks of the Irish Heritage Trail:  Every March the Boston Irish Tourism Association provides guided walks of the Irish Heritage Trail; over 200 years of Irish history in Boston from Commodore John Barry to President John F. Kennedy. For more information click here…..

A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn with Brian O’Donovan: For the past decade, A St. Patrick’s Day Celtic Sojourn concerts with Brian O’Donovan have introduced a wide range of new and familiar musicians to audiences eager to celebrate the holiday in true Irish style.

JFK Library celebrates with the Greene-O’Leary School of Irish Dancers. Enjoy a celebration of St. Patrick’s Day as these dancers demonstrate their athleticism, skill, and poise while presenting traditional and contemporary styles of Irish dance.

St. Patrick’s Day is officially on Friday March 17. The day may be spent enjoying a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage and it is likely the evening will be active across the Merrimack Valley and in the City of Boston. Whether you enjoy a Guinness or perhaps a green beer, there will be many heading out after work to raise a glass. For those of drinking age who want to celebrate, please remember to not don’t drink and drive. Find a designated driver, walk to your local bar or restaurant, call a cab or Uber, take public transportation, stay over a friend’s or get a hotel room—just stay off the road.  You have your life, your passenger’s life and those in the other vehicles on the road in your hands. Celebrate responsibly.

Unfortunately,  St. Patrick’s Day has ended in tragedy due to drunk drivers getting behind the wheel. Over St. Patrick’s Day from 2011 to 2015, a total of 252 lives were lost in drunk-driving crashes, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. To help solve the problem of drinking and driving, they started a program called SaferRide and it has mobile apps available. NHTSA’s SaferRide app will help keep drunk drivers off the roads by allowing users to call a taxi or a friend and by identifying their location so they can be picked up. Free downloads are available as follows:

For Android devices, from Google Play store:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.nhtsa.SaferRide

For Apple devices, from iTunes:
https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/saferride/id950774008?mt=8

Enjoy the next two weekends celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, the beginning of spring and don’t forget to set the clocks ahead one hour this Saturday night when you go to bed. We’ll lose an hour of sleep, but warmer weather is that much closer!   Happy St. Patrick’s Day and be safe.
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Gary Jaffarian

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