St Patrick's Day falls on a Saturday this year, which means the annual New York City parade will be bigger than ever.
The Parade starts at 44th street at 11 a.m. on Saturday morning, and will venture up Fifth Avenue past St. Patrick Cathedral through to the American Irish Historical Society at 83rd where it will finish at 4.30-5.00 p.m.
Best Viewing Spots
The best places to view the parade and avoid the crowds are north of 66th street and Fifth Avenue, according to the parade's website. The upper steps of the Metropolitan Museum of Art provide a great view. You can get a close-up view of the marchers at 86th Street where the Parade route ends and the marchers disband and embark to go home or to celebrate.
Francis X. Comerford is the Grand Marshall for the 2012 parade. He is the Chief Revenue Officer and President of Commercial Operations for the NBC qwned Television Stations. New York Mayor, Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner, Raymond Kelly will be at the parade at 10.45 a.m.
The first St. Patrick's Day Parade in New York took place on lower Broadway in 1762, which included members of Irish ex-patriots and Irish military who served with the British Army stationed in American Colonies.
People involved in the parade would march, sing and play pipes to Irish tunes. Initially the parade was organized by military units, but after 1812, Irish beneficial societies took over as hosts and sponsors of the event. The parade has grown sharply over the years, becoming one of the biggest parades in the world.
Throughout our history, the parade has been held in honor of the Patron Saint of Ireland and the Archdiocese of New York, the parade committee wrote on their Website.
With St Patrick's Day falling on a Saturday this year, fifty four percent of all Americans will be celebrating the holiday, according to a National Retail Federation survey, a record percentage in 9 years.
Around 82 percent of participants in the holiday will be wearing green, and consumers are expected to spend $35 each, for a total of $4.6 billion. Around 19 percent said they would attend a private party and 24 percent will spend money on decorations, the survey found.
For many consumers, St. Patrick's Day is the officially kickoff to spring - typically a time when many people start stocking up on warm weather apparel, patio and garden merchandise and even home accents like candles, throw pillows and new bed sets, the National Retail Federation said in a statement.