The 23rd Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is set for March 14, 2015 in historic Downtown Indiana. This festive celebration is sponsored and supported by local Irish pub and restaurant, The Coney Island.
If your organization would like to participate in the parade, please fill out the DOWNTOWN INDIANA PARADE APPLICATION.
The history of the parade dates back to March 21, 1992. Keith Bloom was the first person to initiate the St. Patrick’s Day event in downtown Indiana. Bloom was a retired band director and music teacher from Marion Center School District. At that time, the St. Patrick’s Day holiday was a nearly a weeklong festival (lasting five days) referred to as “Green Week”. There was a committee that assisted Bloom in putting the event together each year; included in that committee was Robert Strock who worked at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Bloom was chairperson of Green Week and Strock chaired the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Downtown Indiana also assisted in the coordination of the parade. The group would meet regularly at The Coney to plan the event. Bloom and Strock ran the event for several years. A fundraiser was held to help cover costs of Green Week. Irish flags were sold and purchased in the name of relatives, businesses and organizations. The flags would then be displayed along Philadelphia Street. The Leprechaun Look Alike Contest also started in 1992. It was created by Myron Tomb and had nine different categories at that time. Included in Green Week was the Environmental Fair that was chaired by former state representative, Sara Steelman. There was also a “Pot of Gold” contest give away. Delaney Chevrolet car dealership would generously donate a green car and then that car would be kindly filled with numerous bags of groceries by Giant Eagle, courtesy of former owner, Ed Bratton. The parade units consisted of various Irish themed floats. The National Bank of Commonwealth (NBOC) sponsored all of the bag piper bands and drummers for the parade.
After Mr. Bloom passed away Downtown Indiana took over the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Coney has always been a strong, dedicated supporter of the event. The parade has become much more costly over the years. It is because of The Coney’s generous support and donations to the event that it continues on today. The Coney pays for the cost of the street closure, as well as the bagpipers. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade is still one of the most celebrated events in Downtown Indiana and is filled with many community organizations and businesses as well as the local schools.
For this year’s event, the fun and festivities will begin at 10:00 a.m. at Spaghetti Benders where there will be the annual Wee Laddies & Wee Lassies Leprechaun Look-Alike contest. The parade will begin at 11:00 a.m. at Fifth and Philadelphia Street, and will travel down to Eighth and Philadelphia Street. It will feature the Laurel Highlander Pipes and Drums, a bagpipe organization, and the usual favorites of community organizations. Downtown Indiana and The Coney warmly welcome you to join us for this family friendly St. Patrick’s Day celebration! Be sure to stop by The Coney after the parade and grab a frothy pint; eat some traditional Irish food, while enjoying the sounds of the bagpipers.
*Some of the information in this article was provided by the Indiana Historical Society and The Coney Island Restaurant.
Written by: Downtown Indiana