Everybody’s Irish on Saturday, at least as far as organizers of the annual Wearin’ of the Green Parade are concerned.
Throw on that emerald T-shirt and grab the raincoat and/or umbrella (just in case) and head out to the Hundred Oaks neighborhood in Baton Rouge.
With showers predicted at least through early Saturday morning, parade founder and WBRZ chief meteorologist Pat Shingleton says there is a weather plan in place.
“We have a protocol, that if there is any situation of severe weather that would reach severe limits, such as a thunderstorm warning or tornado warning or anything like that, then we would act appropriately from the parade site,” Shingleton says.
“Depending upon what this upper low (weather system) is going to do as far as spinning that line of showers out late Friday night and into Saturday morning, we do believe we’ve got a window there, and it’s a pretty good window, from 10 (a.m.) up until 1 in the afternoon, so that’s what we are leaning toward,” he says.
T he parade is scheduled to roll at 10 a.m. from the Catholic Life Center on South Acadian Thruway.
If the parade isn’t able to begin then, “we’ll continue to watch it throughout the day and roll at the appropriate time, or we would probably, in that scenario, try to do it on Sunday, or the next day. We wouldn’t be able to make that determination until that morning,” Shingleton says.
“From somewhat of a humorous standpoint, we’ve always billed this as a rain-or-shine event, so it looks like we will get the rain, but maybe we get a little shine by the end of the day.”
In its 31st year, this St. Patrick’s Day celebration is more than a parade, Shingleton says.
“It’s the recognition of the Patron Saint of Ireland and the relationship of our city and our state with the country of Ireland,” he says.
Thousands line the parade route from South Acadian to Hundred Oaks Avenue, to South Eugene Street to Terrace Avenue and on to Perkins Road.
“Folks gather for reunions, family gatherings, and even weddings for the Wearin’ of the Green,” he says.
Shingleton got his vision for the Baton Rouge event after attending a St. Patrick’s Day parade in his hometown of Pittsburgh. Three years in, Grey Hammett came aboard to assist Shingleton with the growing celebration, and in 1999, The Parade Group LLC formed to manage the parade’s related activities throughout the year.
In 2015, the Wearin’ of the Green was one of 10 Irish events worldwide to be featured in Destinations Travel Magazine.
The parade will feature the Marine Corps Marching Band and Color Guard, local pipe bands, area high school bands and krewe floats. Leading it all will be Grand Marshal Rick Nevils, a Baton Rouge lawyer involved with the parade since its early years.
And for the first time, Mockler Beverage is bringing the Budweiser Clydesdales to town.
From their official home at the 100-acre brewery complex in St. Louis, the eight horses; the red, white and gold beer wagon they pull; and other equipment travel in three 50-foot tractor-trailers, according to the Anheuser-Busch website.
The daily diet of each horse, which weighs between 1,800 and 2,300 pounds, includes 20 to 25 quarts of whole grains, minerals and vitamins, 50 to 60 pounds of hay, and 30 gallons of water, according to the site.
In addition to catching them on the parade route, the public can watch the horse team be harnessed and hitched to the wagon from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. at TJ Ribs, 2324 S. Acadian Thruway.
Wearin’ of the Green Parade
WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday
WHERE: Starting at Hundred Oaks Avenue and South Acadian Thruway, Baton Rouge (see accompanying map)
ON TV: 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., WBTR, Channel 41 (cable Channel 19) and WBRZ.com, with repeats on WBTR at 3 p.m., 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday; noon and 7 p.m. Sunday; and 2 p.m. Thursday (St. Patrick’s Day).