Don your favourite green garments and get ready for Guinness at this annual celebration of all things Irish.
Top of the morning to ye! Follow a leprechaun to the end of the rainbow and you might just come across New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade. Held every year on March 17th, this huge, carnival-esque event is attended by plenty of the city's huge Irish population as well as party-lovers and merry well-wishers.
One of New York's most popular spring festivals, the parade begins by travelling down 5th Avenue (beginning on 44th street) and finishes at the American Irish Historical Society on East 80th Street. Along the way it passes several iconic city sights, including Central Park and St. Patrick's Cathedral. Parade participants range hugely - from official marching bands playing traditional Irish songs to green-clad revellers in fancy dress. A fun event fact is that it's technically older than the United States; it was started by a group of homesick Irish conscripts in 1762. Kicking off at 11 a.m. and continuing for several hours, there's plenty of time to join in with the festivities throughout the day.
As well as the parade itself, there are also plenty of other Irish themed activities and events on offer. The Irish Arts Center welcomes guests and puts on authentic music shows, traditional Irish dances and jigs, craft workshops and food tastings. Daybreaker NYC has a slightly wackier offering in the form of Leprechauns, Bling and Rainbows where New York's early risers (decked out in hues of green and sipping on specially made green juice) can dance from 6 a.m.
As the sun goes down, the party properly starts; in true Irish style many places offer Guinness and Irish whiskey deals. For an authentic example of the Emerald Isle's love of laughter, pop in to The Griff and Joe St. Patrick's Day Drunktacular for some comedy gold before heading on to Green Eggs and Hammered at Turtle Bay NYC for DJs, dancing and debauchery (tickets are around $20 and can be booked in advance).
If you're planning on attending the parade be aware that around two million spectators turn out to celebrate so streets are likely to be very crowded. If you want to attend one of the additional events or festivities, booking tickets in advance is advisable too - after all, you don't want to miss out on this pot of party gold.
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