Irish heritage on display at Wilkes-Barre St. Patrick’s Parade




WILKES-BARRE — It didn’t matter if you hailed from the Emerald Isle or not, everyone in the city was Irish for the day.

Thousands of people packed the city’s parade route donning all shades of green and orange for the 39th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday.

“I’ve been coming since the start,” said Old Forge native Dave Shaup. “And I always dress the part. I even dyed my hair and beard.”

Shaup, 74, dressed up as a life-size leprechaun, a type of fairy commonly depicted in Irish folklore.

Shaup wearing a green suit, a green derby hat, shamrock suspenders and carrying a blackthorn stick said he looks forward to attending the city’s parade every year.

“I come to Wilkes-Barre,” he said. “I also go to Scranton and Pittston. Everywhere there is a sea of green.”

The parade route began at the intersection of South Main and South streets and traveled along South Main around Public Square and ended at the intersection of North Main and Union streets.

“This is a great family event,” Shaup added. “I enjoy seeing the smile on the kids faces.”

Shaup among many others were highly impressed with the various pipe and drum bands, including this year’s Grand Marshal District Judge Thomas F. Malloy Sr.

“I’m a little partial to the Wyoming Valley Pipe & Drum Band since my two boys have been with them for the past 11 years,” said Malloy Sr. “They both kept going with it, and I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Before Malloy could assume the role as the grand marshal he had to get some clearances first.

“I took an oath for the judicial canons,” he said. “I had to first get it cleared by the ethics committee. They told me as long as I was Irish I could walk in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade as the grand marshal.”

Malloy credited his wife Alicia, and sons, Thomas Jr. and Michael, for their constant support.

“It was truly a great day, a good time and a very proud moment for me and my family,” Malloy said. “There’s nothing like seeing all these family-owned businesses participating in the parade. It’s a great outpouring from the community.”

Mother Nature cooperated with parade goers despite dark ominous clouds looming over. However, the sun was able to break out during certain parts of the parade.

“It’s great to see people come out and show their Irish pride and heritage,” said Ted Wampole, executive director of the Luzerne County Convention and Tourism Bureau. “We like to see large turnouts in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

This year’s parade also marked the last time GAR, Meyers and Coughlin High School marching band’s participation as the school’s will begin consolidating next year into Wilkes-Barre Area.

The Times Leader Media Group was a sponsor of the parade.