St. Patrick's Day events start this weekend

Posted at 9:54 AM, Mar 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-05 09:57:44-05

It took two “buckets of cheer” to bring Joanna Cox and her husband together.

The couple met at the Baltimore St. Patrick Day Parade, on St. Patrick’s Day, 42 years ago. She won a prize bucket, and so did her now-husband’s roommate, and the rest was history.

So Cox, now chair of the parade, has a soft spot in her heart for the annual event, now in its 61st year. It’s also a great way for her to celebrate her Irish heritage.

“It’s a great buzz around the Washington Monument,” Cox said. “You can just feel the energy that’s there.”

This year’s parade will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, March 13. It’s preceded by the Shamrock 5K race, which is expected to bring 5,000 runners to Baltimore.

“You just see this sea of green,” Cox said.

More Baltimore area events

She reminds people wishing to travel to the parade to check out road closures ahead of time, and think about using services such as Parking Panda to reserve parking spaces.

The annual parade is just one of many St. Patrick’s Day events happening throughout the area.

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In Annapolis, St. Patrick’s Day is more than just March 17.

Why keep the celebrations to one day when there’s an entire month to party?

That’s the mindset of John O’Leary, one of the organizers of Annapolis Irish Week, which kicks off Saturday night with the Annapolis Irish Hooley at the Loews Hotel on West Street.

The revelry continues Sunday with the 4th Annual Annapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade, which began with 42 floats and has since grown to include 103 floats.

O’Leary said Annapolis has always had plenty of events around St. Patrick’s Day, but stretching the fun out over several weeks was something he and others wanted to do to help promote downtown businesses.

Maryland’s capital city already has plenty of Irish bars, restaurants and stores, but the first week of March might be a dead time without some of these events, O’Leary said.

“I think it’s done with the people in mind and the city in mind,” he said.

The parade, which begins at 1 p.m. Sunday in downtown Annapolis, also raises money for several nonprofits including Warrior Events, O’Leary’s charity benefiting wounded warriors, the Maryland Professional Firefighters Association and The Blue Ribbon Project, which supports foster children.

While elected officials do march in the parade, O’Leary says he is careful to keep the event non-political.

“It’s meant to be Irish,” he said.

This weekend is just the beginning of Annapolis’ Irish celebration. Here’s a list of the rest of the events, which run through March 17.

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