After a hiatus, a long-standing Oklahoma City tradition is returning – this time in an historic new location. Round up the herd and strike up the band, because the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Historic Stockyards kicks off Saturday, March 17 at 10 a.m.
Presented by Stockyards City Main Street, Inc. and the O’klahoma Irish Heritage Society – whose members helped organize Oklahoma City’s original St. Patrick’s Day parade – this family-friendly event will feature the famous Chain Ranch Longhorns being herded down Exchange Avenue, as well as marching bands, bagpipes, antique cars, tractors, community groups, equestrian clubs and its very own leprechaun.
Stockyards City Main Street has a history of helping men and women, who are homeless. Both “Sanctuary Women’s Development Center” and “Grace Rescue Mission”, provide a tremendous service to the community by helping men and women who lack sufficient income for housing, food and medical care. St Patrick’s Day is a special day to help celebrate the good works done by these organizations and The Stockyards Merchants working together.
The Sanctuary Women’s Development Center, 2133 SW 11th St., provides social services to homeless and at-risk women and their children, including resource referral and assistance accessing services such as daycare and Early Head Start, vocational and employment development and solution-focused advocacy.
“Sanctuary Women’s Development Center is blessed by the community of support that stems from Stockyards City,” said Jessi Riesenberg, senior director of development and outreach for Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City. “Thank you to those putting on the St. Patrick’s Day parade and the proceeds that help us serve homeless women and children.”
“Stockyards City Main Street is pleased to host this event in cooperation with the O’klahoma Irish Heritage Society celebrating our authentic Western and Irish Heritage. We look forward to showing everyone a warm welcome and providing a dose of Western hospitality,” said Kelli Payne, executive director of Stockyards City Main Street.
Admission is free, and there will plenty of convenient, free parking. Stockyards City’s unique, locally-owned stores will be open for business, and parade-goers will enjoy the district’s excellent restaurants and watering holes. Food trucks and street performers will also be on hand throughout the day.
The parade route begins at the intersection of Exchange Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue and will head west before turning south at Agnew Avenue and ending at Southwest 14th Street
O’klahoma Irish Heritage Society member Oliver DeLaney remembers Oklahoma City’s very first St. Patrick’s Day parade. He was one of three Irishmen who held an impromptu parade beginning at N.W. 5 Street and Broadway on March 17, 1978.
The trio – which included Michael McDonnell and Ciaran Brennan, dressed in business suits and overcoats in the cold winter weather – carried Oklahoma, American and Irish flags as they marched, stopping traffic as they celebrated their Irish heritage.
“We decided to march south down to the convention center, at which point in time we were arrested by the police for not having a permit. We didn’t know we needed a permit,” said a laughing DeLaney, who is helping organize this year’s parade. “What I want to do is keep the tradition going. That’s what is important. The Irish are a big part of Oklahoma’s heritage.”
Friends of The O’klahoma Irish Heritage Society will also gather on Friday, March 16th for a special Memorial Mass in honor of Saint Patrick. The Mass will be celebrated at 12 noon at St. Joseph’s Old Cathedral at 307 NW 4th St.(4th & Harvey) in Oklahoma City. For more information, call (405) 235-7267 or email [email protected]. Or Peg Malloy e-mail: [email protected]