It’s not difficult to figure out what the appeal of the Carbon County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The event is held the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day and draws huge crowds with its pageantry and celebration. The beautiful and historic hosting-town of Jim Thorpe is located in the pristine mountains of the Poconos and the town has a rich community focus. Furthermore, Jim Thorpe is home to some long-reaching and rich Irish heritage – think the infamous Molly Maguires. But really, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade is just a fantastic time, and this community-centric town never seems to need much cause to celebrate.
Naturally the parade is the big event for the day. Intricately designed floats and huge horse-drawn carriages march down the town’s Broadway. There are bagpipers and fiddlers aplenty, not to mention local brass bands and high school marching bands. Fiercely proud and culture-rich Irish organizations are dressed in elaborate uniforms while presentations from the accompanying groups regale throngs of people cheering all along the parade route. Civil war re-enactors marching in time will stop and on orders from the sergeant shoot a salute into the air. Jovial Irish-themed performers juggling, walking on stilts, and skirting in hula hoops and young Celtic dancers line to face the crowds.
The local A.O.H and L.A.O.H. are the sponsors and originators of the Carbon County St. Patrick’s Day parade. As propagator of the parades success, the organizations take their duty serious. A traditional mass is held the Saturday before the parade at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church. This mass is a traditional part of our celebration to honor St. Patrick and also serves as a blessing to the St Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal Officers for the A.O.H and the L.A.O.H. There is also a benefit dinner for the parade’s Grand Marshall and his appointed aides few weeks before the parade. The dinner is open to the public but advance-purchased tickets are necessary.
Admission to the parade route is free but crowds form early. Parking cost is moderate and space is very limited so it is recommended that spectators arrive early.