*There is no music on this page due to video clip of the UpWithThunder Pipe Band
Girardville literally bursts its small town seams once a year in March when the normally sleepy little coal region town dusts off its shamrocks and rolls out the green carpet for its annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. This next parade, on Saturday, March 19th, 2011, will be the eighth.
Each year gets better and better.
Girardville has always cherished its Irish roots. A large number of its citizens boast of Irish extraction. Joe Wayne, great grandson of John "Black Jack" Kehoe, and the Wayne family have always kept the Irish traditions alive in the family run tavern, The Hibernian House. The tavern, which belonged to Black Jack and has changed very little since its original owners day, is a favorite destination on St. Patrick's Day for hundreds of pub crawlers and Irish history seekers. It is a standing room only situation.
Needless to say, no one would have ever thought back in 2004 when the first annual Girardville St. Patrick's Day parade was born, that it would take off like Irish lightening. Sponsored by the Girardville Ancient Order of Hibernians, Black Jack Kehoe Division #1, the parade quickly caught on with both locals and those of Irish extraction as far off as Philadelphia and points beyond. Hundreds of parade goers fill the streets while hundreds of marching bands, floats, organizations, and firetrucks make the traditional trek around town. It is a party that is not to be missed, for no matter what the weather, Irish eyes are smilin' and the day shall be grande!
This short video is of one of the beloved pipe bands that never cease to melt the hearts of all those lining the streets. Surely, the sound of the callin' pipes brings out the Irish pride in all who carry even a faint trace in their bloodline. Listen for a moment as this division from Montgomery County structs their stuff in front of the Judges Stand ...
Pipe bands are not the only Irish culture to grace the parade route. Many divisions of the AOH and LAOH make the pilgrimage to historic Girardville out of respect for the great man, Jack Kehoe, and the twenty others miners and AOH members who were hung for their involvement in the labor rights struggles during the Mollie Maguire saga.
The Girardville St. Patrick's Day Parade is a shining example of the amazing things that can happen when a small committed group of individuals dreams a dream then makes it come true. The Parade has brought new life to the Girardville community by giving it a sense of identity and purpose. The enthusiasm the residents show in decorating their houses, tiding the town, and setting up concessions for parade day has far reaching benefits that end up paying off all year long. Seeing the throngs of people again lining streets that were empty for so long is heartwarming.
Come help us find the gold at the end of the rainbow at 12 noon, Saturday March 20th, 2010 as the sidewalks of Girardville again grow thick with blarney and the flags proudly wave their colors of green, white and orange alongside the red, white, and blue. The parade is traditionally held the Saturday after St. Patrick's Day. If there is anything more wonderful than St. Patrick's Day, it's extending the beloved Irish saint's day for another week.
All the more to celebrate!
The 2009 Parade parade honored Sports Figures for the second year in a row. Grand Marshalls were Jack Travis, Ed Burns, and Paul Kowalick, all who have given years of their time and talents - as well as sweat and tears, I am sure - to provide the youth of Girardville and surrounding communities the chance to participate in organized sports. Next year's parade theme has yet to be announced.
Be part of the fastest growing St. Patrick's Day tradition in northeast Pennsylvania. Visit Girardville for the 7th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade!