POTTSVILLE, Pa. — Irish songs filled the streets of Pottsville as bands and performers marched down the pavement in the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
A tradition for Pottsville since 1976, the pandemic put the annual parade on pause since its last parade in 2019.
“We used to come here every year before it stopped for the pandemic. And now it came back this year,” said Sandy Horsfield from Mt. Carmel.
Paradegoers returning to the sidewalks after the three-year hiatus say it's better than they remember.
“Usually, they come out into the community, and everybody else comes out and celebrates, so without it was pretty boring. There just wasn't a lot of fun throughout the community the past three years,” added Angel Zapolsky from Pottsville.
More than 30 organizations marched through downtown Pottsville for the comeback of the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
“There's a lot of Irish in our town and community. So you can see it with the spirit of people decorating and getting involved,” explained Daniel Koury, Pottsville Ancient Order Hibernians JFK Division No. 2.
Koury’s father started the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pottsville with the help of the Pottsville Ancient Order of Hibernians, who still sponsor the parade to this day.
“It's incredible for the local community, it gets everybody out to restaurants and different areas, bringing in people from outside areas to Pottsville, just building community,” mentioned Alyssa Fink from Schuylkill Haven.
But the celebration doesn't stop at the end of the parade route. The party continues as people fill bars and restaurants for post-parade events.
“We opened at 11, and the parade started at 11, so as soon as it started, everyone was coming from the streets, and now it's full go,” said Conlan Budwash, who works for Pilger Ruh Brewing.
“I may go to some of the bars and just hang out for a while and stuff like that, but I'm not gonna be a big drinker and do all that tonight,” Zapolsky added.
Before the celebrations were over, organizers are already thinking about next year's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
“The doors are open, Pottsville could be as big as any of those other communities did and even become a bigger event for the whole town,” Koury said.
Want to see what Newswatch 16's newscasts were like in 1983 and 1984? Head on over to WNEP's YouTube.