UTICA — The public is invited to the Great American Irish Festival Grand Marshal Reception to be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday, March 6 at the Irish Cultural Center located at 623 Columbia St.
Admission to the Grand Marshal Reception is $20 payable at the door which will include food along with beer and soda. Entertainment will be provided by Craobh Dugan and the Butler-Sheehan School of Irish Dance. Following the event will be an official after party celebration being held at the Five Points Public House.
The annual event encompasses the “Passing of the Shillelagh” from last year’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal, John Sullivan to the 2020 grand marshal who is honored with the privilege of leading the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade.
The grand marshal will also raise the Irish flag in a ceremony at Utica City Hall at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, March 11, along with the street painting of the “Green Line” on Friday, March 13 at 11 a.m. in front of the Stanley Theatre on Genesee Street.
This year’s grand marshal is Nicholas P. Durr who has been extensively involved in leadership roles of local Irish organizations including the Ancient Order of Hibernians John C. Devereaux Oneida County Div. No. 1 and the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Justin F. Kelly Division in which he is currently serving as the president.
New York’s third largest Saint Patrick’s Day parade will take place Saturday, March 14 at 10 a.m. along Genesee Street in Utica. This year’s parade will include more than 120 marching units consisting of The Mohawk Valley Frasers, Syracuse Scottish Pipe Band, Emerald City Pipe Band and the Finger Lakes Pipe Band.
Returning for the third year to the Saint Patrick’s Day Parade is the “Mad Mile,” a 1-mile running race which will immediately precede the parade down Genesee Street. The race is being sponsored by the Sneaker Store in New Hartford. Along the parade route there will be the collection of non-perishable food items by Craobh Dugan to benefit Mother Marianne’s West Side Kitchen.
On the evening prior, Friday, March 13, there will be a Mass sponsored by the Ancient Order of Hiberians which will take place at St. Joseph/St. Patrick’s Church at 7 p.m., with Irish music beginning at 6:30 p.m.
For more information, visit www.greatamericanirishfest.com or the Great American Irish Festival Facebook page under “Events.”