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Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade
How it all began
The parade started in 1983 with a dozen or so enthusiastic Irish-Americans marching down Wilmington St. to the delight and curiosity of downtown residents, merchants and shoppers. The parade was organized initially by John McIntyre and Gail Massari. John and Gail kept the parade going and growing until 1988 when John was transferred to Germany. Prior to leaving for Germany they asked Raleigh's Friends of Ireland (FOI) organization to continue the work they started. The FOI board agreed to organize the parade. Frank Mellage became involved with the parade at that time. He served on the Parade committee from 1989-1992 and became Chairman of the committee for the 1993 St. Patrick's Day Parade. In 2000 an independent Raleigh Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee was formed with members from other local Irish organizations. The 2014 Parade will be the 32nd!
Every Year, the Raleigh Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee donates to local charities. In 2014, we are proud to support Be the Match!
About Saint Patrick
Saint Patrick is the patron saint of Ireland. His Feast Day is March 17th.
Much is not known about St. Patrick but he was likely kidnapped from Britain around the age of 16 and taken to Ireland as a slave. He worked as a shepherd and spent much of his time cold and hungry and turned to prayer. He escaped from slavery after being told in a dream by God to travel west. He returned to Britain and studied in monasteries became a priest, then a bishop. He had dreams of the Irish people calling to him to be with them and to help them. He returned to Ireland and traveled converting many to Christianity. It is said that Saint Patrick used the shamrock's three leaves on one stem to explain the Holy Trinity. The shamrock is still a symbol associated with Saint Patrick and Ireland.
He died between 461-464 at Saul, County Down, Ireland.