TOPEKA (KSNT) – Green is back in fashion this week leading up to the 2023 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the Capital City.
A Topeka tradition since 1980, the annual parade celebrating Irish culture will be returning to the downtown area. KSNT 27 News spoke with parade organizers to get all the details for what you need to know ahead of the celebrations on March 18.
St. Patrick’s Day Parade Schedule
The parade will get started at noon, while floats can start lining up at 10 a.m. at 4th Street and Kansas Avenue. Streets will start to close around 9 a.m. on the morning of the parade, according to Irish Club of Topeka President Dan Sheehy.
“Usually we start seeing people get down there at 10-11 in the morning and they stay there till the parade starts at noon,” Sheehy said. “The parade usually lasts around an hour to an hour-and-a-half.”
The parade will move south down Kansas Avenue until it reaches Southwest 10th Avenue at which point it will turn west to the intersection of Southwest 10th Avenue and Southwest Jackson Street. The parade will then move north on Southwest Jackson Street back up to Southwest 4th Street, where it will end.
Sheehy said Kansas Avenue is a great place to view the parade and that it is best to bring a chair to sit if attendees don’t want to stand the entire time. As the parade usually draws around 30,000 people annually, it is also encouraged to show up sooner rather than later to secure a good viewing spot.
Parade Day Weather
Sheehy said the parade’s biggest worry right now is a thunderstorm, which is the only thing that would cancel it.
“Rain, snow or shine we’ll be there,” Sheehy said.
KSNT Stormtrack Meteorologist Matt Miller said the weather on the day of the parade won’t be pleasant. Current models show that the temperature will be in the middle 20s and windy around the start time for the parade.
The St. Patrick’s Day has been around for a long time, according to Sheehy. It originally started on March 17, 1980 by a group of founders who wanted to celebrate their culture. Described as “good old Irishmen” by Sheehy, these men started a tradition that has gained traction over the years and has now become the largest event in the downtown area.
“It’s a great Topeka tradition, something I’ve been going to since I was born,” Sheehy said. “It’s great for people that are Irish or that want to joke around about it. Great event for people to come out from all walks of life and enjoy the parade.”
Sheehy, who has been helping run the parade for almost four years, said that the roots of the Irish community are extremely deep in Topeka.
“You don’t have to go very far to find an Irishman or Irishwoman,” Sheehy said. “The Irish have always tended to be a fun-loving people and we try to carry that on with our celebration of St. Patrick.”
Irishfest will be held on the same day as the parade at the Evergy Plaza in the downtown area, according to the Irishfest website. Festivities will kick off at 10 a.m. with the IrishFest 5k Fun Run/Walk while food and beer will be available courtesy of the Blind Tiger Beer Garden.
Small business vendors, live Irish music, Irish dances, cornhole, yard jenga and more will be handy for members of the community to enjoy. At 2 p.m., the band “Carswell & Hope” will start to perform.
The Celtic Fox in downtown Topeka will be holding Irish-themed celebrations on St. Patrick’s Day starting at 9 a.m. with the Irish Breakfast. When the parade concludes in the afternoon on March 18, people are invited to go to the Celtic Fox for a post-parade street party with music provided by “Chance Encounter.”
Held on March 18 from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. at the Blind Tiger, this event offers locals a tasty selection of food to get the day going. The Blarney Breakfast supports the Capper Foundation which helps children and adults with disabilities. For ticket information, click here.