Denver's Celtic celebration originated on Larimer Street in the late 1890s, only to die during Prohibition, when most of the Irish pubs in town were shuttered. But a group of World War II veterans revived the tradition in 1962. "A guy named Jim Eakins and a couple of his buddies were sitting around drinking on St. Paddy's Day at Sullivan's Bar and decided it would be a good time to start it back up," explains Tom Morrissey, president of the all-volunteer group that organizes the parade. "So they got off their bar stools, gathered up a crowd, and went out and marched around the block. It just grew from there."
With over 300 entries of everything from Irish dancers to marching bands to classic-car enthusiasts, Denver's parade is the biggest one west of the Mississippi, with more than 100,000 estimated in attendance annually. "Everyone is Irish on St. Patrick's Day," says Morrissey of the crowd.
This year's parade will begin at 10 a.m. at the corner of 27th and Blake streets; from there, it heads south to 17th Street, west to Union Station, and back north on Wynkoop and around Wewata to Coors Field; the entire route should take about three hours to complete. For further information, visit www.denverstpatricksdayparade.org.