ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Albany’s St. Patrick’s Day parade kicked off at 2 p.m. Saturday to crowds adorned in green who were excited and energized by the annual event.

The annual parade floated down the streets lined in all shades of emerald as the crowds cheered the passing marching bands, bagpipe players and Irish dancers.

Folks from as far away as Las Vegas and Florida were in attendance for this year’s celebrations.

“We flew our son and his wife in from Florida to see his grandmother as Grand Marshall,” said Grand Marshall Kathleen Stevens’ family.

““I am from Vegas,” said the parade goer.

NEWS10’s James De La Fuente then asked, “It’s the 73rd annual parade. What have you been told? What are you expecting and what are you waiting for?”

“West Sand Lake Fire Department for sure. My uncle and aunt are in the fire department,” finished the visitor from Las Vegas.

We even saw familiar faces; Stephanie Rivas cohosted this year’s parade and even the Mobile Storm Tracker along with several of the NEWS10 team who were decked out in green to show support.

The time-honored tradition is well alive and celebrated by hundreds of spectators, pets included at this Capital Region family friendly event.

From marching bands to Irish Jig dances, this parade has it all. 

And after the parade, many partake in the Irish American tradition of corned beef and cabbage, Irish soda bread and stout lagers.

“This is the best i ever had,” said a gentleman at Graney’s Bar and Grill eating corned beef.

The beloved St. Patrick’s Day Parade became an Irish American tradition that dates back to 1601 when it made its first debut in a Spanish colony in Florida, says Elizabeth Stack, Executive Director of the Irish American Heritage Museum in Albany.

As for the corned beef and cabbage, well Stack says that comes from the Irish settlers who came to America and who were accustomed to boiled bacon. They found the cheapest meat available was corned beef and as it tastes close to the salty bacon it became a staple item in the celebrations.