Annual parade and festival celebrate Greenville and the Upstate’s Irish roots

Community | Mar 7, 2018 | Sara Pearce

This year, Greenville and its residents will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and the city’s cross-cultural Irish-American roots with the 6th annual St. Patrick’s Annual Greenville Parade and Festival.

The family-friendly event will march up Main Street and end at NOMA Square with a festival that includes face-painting, Irish dancing, and music.

The parade is held by Greenville’s own division of the Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH), the Harp & Shamrock Division. AOH is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit Irish-Catholic Fraternity with roots that run deep into American history.

The AOH, founded in 1836, is America’s oldest Irish-Catholic fraternity. It traces its roots back to several similar organizations in Ireland that are over 300 years old. The Greenville Division of AOH currently provides support for the Meyer Center for Special Children, St. Anthony’s School, St. Clares Home, Shepherd’s Gate, and Birthright.

The St. Patrick’s Annual Greenville Parade and Festival first started as a mass at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, a walk by the members of AOH to City Hall to receive a mayoral proclamation from the city of Greenville celebrating the Irish contributions in the Upstate, and finally a celebratory lunch. Now, with the sponsorship of the local division of AOH and the financial support of several Upstate businesses, the event has evolved into the St. Patrick’s Annual Greenville Parade and Festival.

Tom Farrell, an active AOH member, said, “This great holiday has been celebrated for many years with parades and festivals throughout the United States and the Carolinas, but Greenville was the only major city in South Carolina without a St. Patrick’s parade.”

Farrell and Frank Benedetto, vice president of AOH, are active supporters of the festival and are responsible, among others, for the parade’s continued success in Greenville.

The parade is a cultural and civic event that they hope will continue to grow into a downtown tradition with the continued support of business sponsors and private donations from around the Upstate.

The parade itself will feature bagpipes, floats, Irish dancers, and “40 Shades of Green.” The event will culminate with a festival held at NOMA Square, with Irish-American cuisine from chefs at the Hyatt Hotel, Irish music, Irish dancing, face-painting, balloon art, inflatable slides, and more.


St. Patrick’s Annual Greenville Parade and Festival
WHEN: Saturday, March 17, 1-6 p.m.
WHERE: Start intersection of Main St. and Broad St., Festival at NOMA Square
INFO: http://www.aohgreenvillesc.org/events

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