ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — A beloved tradition is back! The 72nd annual St. Patricks Day Parade returns to the streets of downtown Albany. After a two-year COVID hiatus, the streets of Albany will again be awash in a sea of green.

Rain or shine, Albany officials say the 72nd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the North Albany Limerick Parade will happen on Saturday, March 12. Last year’s parade was held virtually; this year, they’re expecting around 500 marchers and large crowds.

“We ordered the corn beef and cabbage,” said Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan. “We are having a parade!”

Events will begin with the traditional Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church at 9 a.m. The parade will begin at 2 p.m. on the corner of Quail and Central Avenues and end at State and Green Streets. “We are excited to have Albany’s two Saint Patrick’s Day Parades back in person,” Mayor Sheehan said. 

Sheehan, local law enforcement, city officials, and parade organizers gathered at city hall on Wednesday to talk preparations, which are in full swing. Irish bands, dancers, many local organizations, and members of the NEWS10 team will be marching on foot as well as on floats. Officials said they are also preparing for inclement weather.

“We have been planning this since last April. We have been chipping away at it and we have met every single Tuesday,” said Tim Carey, president of the United Irish Societies of the Capital Region.

Fire and police officials said both agencies will be fully staffed and able to respond to emergency calls. “We ask that everyone celebrates responsibly and safely because as we say all the time, safety is no accident,” said Albany Fire Chief Joseph Gregory.

Albany’s Department of General Services warns attendees to not liter, to walk, if possible, don’t bring open containers, and take their trash out when they leave. Everyone should expect traffic congestion and road closures.

The tradition of the parade has gone on for 72 years. “It started from a number of people—some were Irish immigrants, others were people who have been here for generations—and it clustered around the Ancient Order of Hibernians,” said Jack McEneny, Albany Historian and former NYS Assemblyman.

That group of people felt like something was missing and wanted more than just a lucky four-leaf clover to celebrate Saint Patrick’s Day. “They really wanted a public way to celebrate not only with private organizations but open it up to the whole community,” McEneny said.

McEneny says having the parade back since 2019 is a sense of renewal that the city needs. “It’s like not being able to go to a movie for two years and you finally get to go to one,” he said. “It’s something very rich, that you never valued as much as you do now.”

On Saturday, keep an eye out for the NEWS10 team marching down Central Avenue. Our own Stephanie Rivas will be hosting the parade as well.