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Vintage KSDK: A look at St. Patrick's Day parades in days gone by

In honor of wearing green, we go to the video vault for this week’s #VintageKSDK and take a look back at this cherished celebration

ST. LOUIS — Sadly, the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in St. Louis has been canceled this year, as have many smaller parades in surrounding communities.

In honor of wearing green on March 17, we go to the video vault for this week’s #VintageKSDK and take a look back at this cherished celebration.

Saturday, March 11, 1978...

The St. Louis St. Patrick's Day Parade is nine years old and drawing big crowds. Skies were grey as 100 units took off down Olive Street toward Broadway.

Parade founder Joe McGlynn was right out front, marching with other dignitaries.

There were antique cars, banners reading "God is Irish" and a visit from residents of St. Louis' sister city, Galway.

Every year since it started in 1970, this parade has featured prominent people of Irish heritage, including prime ministers and ambassadors. Each making the trip to march on the streets of St. Louis, on a day celebrating their patron saint.

Then there was 1986. Sunny skies, big crowds and everyone is Irish.

By this time, the parade had been moved from March 17 to the Saturday before St. Patrick's Day so everyone could attend.

Credit: KSDK
St. Patrick's Day parade in St. Louis in 1986.

There were 180 units this year, including floats, marching bands, Irish dancers and of course, plenty of green beer.

The very first St. Patrick’s Day Parade in St. Louis happened in 1970. It was a day that began with almost two inches of snow.

Now in 2020, for the first time ever, a pandemic means the parade has been postponed. The folks who organize the parade and run hope to reschedule, likely as part of their September Halfway to St. Patrick's Day celebration.


We've saved so much film and video over the decades. Look for a weekly segment on 5 On Your Side at 4 p.m. called Vintage KSDK.

We'll be posting on social media using #VintageKSDK.

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