Details on the 2018 parade route and start time; the festival at Seattle Armory; Irish Reels Film Fest and more.
It’s said that everyone’s Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, perfect for joining in celebrating Irish heritage at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 17, and the Irish Festival at Seattle Center on Saturday and Sunday, March 17-18
The weekend festivities start with St. Patrick’s arrival in town escorted by Seattle’s Pirates of the Emerald Isles on Friday, March 16, at South Lake Union, inspired by the story of St. Patrick’s arrival in Ireland via pirates around A.D. 400. After greeting St. Patrick, free transportation is available for all who’d like to participate in the annual laying of a green stripe down Fourth Avenue to mark the route of Saturday’s parade, riding along in a flatbed truck or bus.
Saturday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade includes Irish dancers, bagpipe bands, Irish community groups, marching bands, DeLorean cars, Seafair Pirates and Clowns, Irish wolfhounds and more. Navy Band Northwest joins the parade for the first time this year, along with “Star Wars” costume groups in salute to the many scenes in the most recent “Star Wars” films that were shot in Ireland. All are invited to walk in the parade with their favorite group or behind the banner representing their Irish province. Seniors and others who can’t walk the distance can ride the route in the Seniors’ Shamrock Shuttle.
St. Patrick’s Arrival/Parade
St. Patrick’s Arrival: 5:30 p.m. Friday, March 16, Lake Union Park (near MOHAI), 860 Terry Ave. N., Seattle
Parade: 12:30 p.m. Saturday, March 17, Fourth Avenue from James Street to Westlake Park, 401 Pine St., Seattle
Time: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, noon to 6 p.m. Sunday, March 17-18; Irish Reels Film Festival, noon to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday.
Location: Seattle Center Armory, 305 Harrison St., Seattle
More info: 206-684-7200 or irishclub.org/irish-week
At the parade’s conclusion at Westlake Park, spectators are welcome to join participants traveling to Seattle Center by Monorail for the official parade closing ceremony at 2:30 p.m. at Seattle Center Armory. Monorail rides are free from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. Saturday; expect long lines.
Irish Festival events Saturday and Sunday include Irish dancing and music on the Main Stage, a marketplace and Irish cooking demonstrations. Displays include thousands of antique Irish postcards from the 1840s to the early 1900s and paintings by Irish artist Ronald Thompson.
The Irish Reels Film Festival shows new works in Irish cinema in the Armory Loft Rooms.
Kids ages 12 and younger are invited to join in contests to find the “Most Irish-looking Face” Saturday and the “Smilingest Irish Eyes” Sunday, based on “eyes twinkle bright as can be” and a smile that would “steal your heart away,” as described in the classic tune “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.”
Irish Week 2018 celebrates the 100th anniversary of women being able to vote in Ireland and the work of Ireland’s suffragettes, including the “Irish Women and the Struggle For The Vote” presentation at 2 p.m. Saturday. Other Saturday lectures include information on Irish genealogy at 3 p.m. and tips for visiting Ireland at 4 p.m.
The Irish Festival also includes the Pacific Northwest DeLorean Club’s display of futuristic, Irish-made DeLorean cars outside the Armory from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Made famous in the 1980s “Back To The Future” movies, DeLoreans were manufactured in Belfast from 1981-1983.
The Irish Heritage Club sponsors the Irish Festival and events throughout the year, and is open to all.
A toast to the Irish in us all, Sláinte! (”slawn-cha,” Irish Gaelic wishing “health!”).