- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 13, 2014

It’s almost that one day each year when everybody suddenly is Irish — and looking to be kissed for it.

Erin go bragh, indeed.

Monday is St. Patrick's Day, but the D.C. area will begin its celebrations this weekend with parades and festivities for young and old (and even non-Irish) alike.

Here are some of the events scheduled for the celebration of all things Irish:

The District

In 1971, the St. Patrick's Day parade in Washington, D.C., began as a small group of people taking a walk together down Constitution Avenue. This year’s two-hour procession will be held Sunday and led by a grand marshal — the Rev. Monsignor Salvatore Criscuolo.

“He is the chaplain for the fire department and police force in D.C. There is a lot of Irish heritage in the force in D.C.,” said Caroline Allen said, a spokeswoman for the parade committee.

Monsignor Criscuolo has served as the chaplain for past parades, but the committee wanted to honor him as the grand marshal this year. The parade’s theme is “Selfless Service” this year.

“It is tied to the monsignor because of the selfless service he has given to the forces,” Ms. Allen said, adding that he has served as chaplain for many years, and officiated weddings for the firefighters, police and even their children. “He has spent his life in service for the first responders.”

Expect a long line of Irish dancers and pipe bands, decorated floats, marching bands and much more.


Montgomery County’s second-largest city has seen its St. Patrick's Day parade grow since it was first held in 2001 and attracted about 1,000 people. Last year’s event drew nearly 10,000, and this year’s celebration will be held Saturday.

“This is the 14th year, and it’s pretty exciting,” said parade Chairwoman Mary Gray. “The first parade started in a bar called Mrs. O’Leary’s, which isn’t there anymore. I’m proud to say it’s a volunteer-based effort, and it started out as an idea in a bar.”

Celtic dancers, bagpipe bands and local groups are set to march at Washingtonian Center (I-370 and Washingtonian Boulevard).

There are four parking garages in the area, as well as a pedestrian bridge connecting the farthest garages to the parade area. Vehicles parked in Garage 2 on Rio Boulevard will not be able to leave until the parade is over, after 1 p.m.

Visitors can extend the Irish celebration with live music and family activities in the plaza area until 1 p.m.


The 15th annual Manassas St. Patrick’s Day Parade will wind through Center Street in Old Town on Saturday morning.

“Last year, we had about 10,000 people,” said Vince Fitzpatrick, who is charge of publicity for the event.

Various pipe and drum troops, dance groups and other local Irish organizations will take to the streets, celebrating Ireland’s patron saint, who drove the “snakes” out of the country.

The procession is expected to last one hour, but Mr. Fitzpatrick invites visitors to stick around after the parade.

“There are lots of restaurants and pubs around the Old Town area that you can enjoy,” he said.

Ri Ra Irish Pub

If a parade isn’t your cup o’ tea, perhaps the Ri Ra Irish Pub in Arlington can provide stronger libation.

“We have a live band on Friday evening to start off the weekend,” said Mark McElkerney, the pub’s general manager.

Eleven-Eleven, a modern rock cover band from Philadelphia that also plays original songs, will kick-off St. Patrick's Day weekend at 10 p.m. Friday. The Loop, another modern rock band from the Philadelphia area, plays Saturday night.

Mr. McElkerney said the pub also will have dancers from a local Irish school to perform Sunday and Monday.

“We are a real Irish pub, not like some others that just hop on the bandwagon,” he said.


Where: Constitution Ave. NW from Seventh St. to 17th St.

When: Sunday, beginning at noon

Admission: Free; $15 for grandstand seats between 15th St. and 16th St. Purchase online at www.dcpatsparade.com

Parking: Public transportation is suggested as street parking fills quickly.


Where: Along Washingtonian Center from the Corner Bakery to Kohl’s department store

When: Saturday, from 10 a.m. to noon

Parking: Four public parking garages nearby


Where: South on Prescott Avenue from Quarry Road, then west on Center St., ending at West St.

When: Saturday, at 11 a.m.

Parking: Multiple locations — City Municipal lots on Prince William St., across from the train station; at City Hall; along Church St.


Where: 2915 Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA 22201

Phone: 703-248-9888

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