ShareThis Page
A sea of green Downtown, as Pittsburgh celebrates a cold-brewed St. Patrick’s Day with parade, revelry | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

A sea of green Downtown, as Pittsburgh celebrates a cold-brewed St. Patrick’s Day with parade, revelry

Tom Davidson
| Saturday, March 16, 2019 2:51 p.m

Amid the sea of people dressed in green Saturday along the Boulevard of the Allies in downtown Pittsburgh, a white faux straw hat seemed to glow when the sun appeared from behind the stark, gray clouds.

Robert Weck was wearing it as he and some of his family enjoyed Pittsburgh’s annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Weck, 84, of Dormont was all smiles as he and two of his daughters and a granddaughter were a foursome in the verdant sea of people on the sidewalk as the parade made its way by.

They’ve trekked downtown for the parade since his children were knee high, he said.

Now they’re full grown, and among them are Sandy Ciaramella, 57, of South Park and Tracy Weck of Clearwater, Fla. The blustery weather may have tamed some of the crowd, but it excited the family, especially Tracy, who got a taste of the worst of March — near-freezing temperatures coupled with a flurry of blowing snow — that she doesn’t get in the Sunshine State.

“I see snow, I see snow. It’s snowing,” Tracy said at one point as the parade, which bills itself at the second largest in the nation, made its way by. “The luck of the Irish to you!”

There were bagpipers, drum bands, mounted police, candy and lots of green beads.

Families with young children, like Drew and Kate Spencer of McCandless, came down early for a walk around Market Square before making their way to the parade route.

“We’re Irish and wanted to bring the kids down and get free candy,” Drew Spencer said. “We just wish we had the weather we had on Friday.”

Ken and Holly Mathias drove into the city from Ambridge.

“We come to the parade every year,” Ken Mathias said. “ I’m Scottish and she’s Irish, so we have to come.”

Warner and Charlotte Siegfried of Upper St. Clair hosted Warner’s sister, Jan Schwartz, and her husband, Dan, of Kunkletown, which is in northeastern Pennsylvania.

Warner isn’t Irish but “married Irish.” The couple used folding camp chairs in a prime viewing spot along the Boulevard of the Allies to enjoy the festivities.

The parade was among the festivities in the region slated for Saturday because St. Patrick’s Day falls on Sunday. This year marked the sesquicentennial of the first Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day parade, which was held March 17, 1869.

It has been an annual tradition in the city since 1950. There were more than 23,000 participants this year, including 200 marching units and 18 bands.

The Pittsburgh Steelers were represented as the team honored its late owner Dan Rooney on the 10th anniversary of his appointment as U.S. ambassador to Ireland. Members of the Rooney family and others in the Steelers organization rode in the parade.

A few short blocks away in Market Square, vendors sold greenery and customers lined up at places like Primanti Bros. New this year was a ban on open containers of alcohol, which meant that a number of people were carrying around disposable coffee cups and/or travel mugs, but the Tribune-Review didn’t observe any disturbances.

The Dormont-based Celtic rock band The Low Kings performed a rousing set of festive music that was enjoyed by people who may or may not have been drinking alcohol.

“All went well, with no incidents,” Pittsburgh Public Safety spokesman Chris Togneri wrote in an email to the Tribune-Review.

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, tdavidson@tribweb.com or via Twitter .


888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay07-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Olivia Menz, 7, of Gibsonia watches the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay11-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
People watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay03-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
People watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay04-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
St. Patrick’s Day Parade items are sold near the parade route in Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay02-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Lindsay Kappeler, of Verona holds her son, Cullen Lang, 1, as they watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay06-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald walks in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay08-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Kittanning Firemen’s Band marches down Grant Street during the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh, on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay10-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Councilman Corey O’Connor hands out candy while walking in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay12-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
People watch the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Pittsburgh on Saturday, March 16, 2019.
888412_web1_ptr-StPatDay01-031619
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
Nate Smallwood | Tribune-Review
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.