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First St. Patrick's parade to step off in Schuylkill Haven

As one tradition in Schuylkill County is called off again this year, a new tradition is starting up.

SCHUYLKILL HAVEN, Pa. — Although the streets of Pottsville were free of bagpipers and proudly displayed Irish flags this past weekend, people there won't have to travel far to find some.

Schuylkill Haven is playing host to St. Patrick's Day revelers for the first time ever this Saturday.

"I love being Irish. I love everything about St. Patrick's Day. It's my favorite holiday, So I was the right person for him to approach, I think," said Lori Michael. 

Michael owns Main Street Moonshine in Schuylkill Haven. She teamed up with borough council member Kevin Kline late last year to start planning.

"He's been talking about doing a parade for a couple of years now. So we got together in December and said, 'hey, let's give it a shot. Let's see what we can do.'"

Lucky that they did.

For the third year in a row, the parade in Pottsville was canceled. The organizers announced last month the parade would not go on as scheduled on March 12.

"We picked the 19th because we knew it would not conflict with their parade," said Michael.

Organizers hope the cancellation brings even more people - forced to look elsewhere for some Irish spirit - into Schuylkill Haven. 

"We started with nothing. It's a small parade this year. But I think it's a nice line-up we have, and we do have the money to cover that. And we're already working on plans for next year," Michael said.

One thing Lori is sure about next year - she wants more bagpipers.

"No one lets me listen to them any other time of year!"

The parade steps off at noon at Schuylkill Haven Area High School. It will proceed down Main Street and end at Main Street Moonshine. The restaurant will serve food and drinks from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

A mass at St. Ambrose Church precedes the parade at 10 a.m.

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