WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — After a long hiatus thanks to COVID, the St. Patrick's Day parade marches on in Wilkes-Barre.
"I was a little concerned, we were looking forward to it, so we wanted to be here," said Kelly Pastuszek, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Airport Therapy Dog Volunteer.
Jesus Vargas of Hunlock Creek brought his daughters to the parade. He said, "The parade is good, and I like when we get the candy."
"I love my candy, and I always pick it up," said the girls when asked what they enjoy about the parade.
"The trucks driving, the fire trucks, the people playing the pipes and everything, it's really interesting," said Jarid Betancourt of Luzerne County.
After yet another winter storm just one day earlier postponed Scranton's parade, Mother Nature sang a less snowy tune for Wilkes-Barre -- if not a warmer one.
"Where we're at, we got a good 10 inches. But the city did a good job plowing and everything," said Jesus Vargas.
"It's really cold, but you know, I definitely wanted to come out, me and my girlfriend. We're enjoying ourselves," said David Ristagno of Ashley.
Many folks are just happy the parade is back.
"I love it so much," said Lily Lord of Plymouth.
"It's our first one since the pandemic," said Samantha Lavelle of Kingston.
"This is the first time I came to the Wilkes-Barre one since 2017. But it's a nice turnout so far," said Ristagno.
After it was canceled in 2020 and 2021, it came back for a 'halfway' celebration this past September.
"The half one in September, we went to the Scranton one actually, and it was like so little compared to what it usually is," said Lavelle.
City officials say they planned for the actual St. Patty's Day parade to be much larger than the "halfway to St. Patty's Day" parade back in September, with around 400 participants and 60 groups involved.
"It's great. There's a lot of people. A lot of excitement, yeah. Fun times," said Pastuszek.
"Definitely not as big as it used to be. There's a bunch of people out here, sporting the green color," said Ristagno.
Officials say they hope the parade will help boost the Downtown economy, bringing it back to traditional times and back to normal.
"I think it's getting back to where it needs to be, which is nice," said Pastuszek.
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