Scituate’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Reflects Town’s Heritage


SHS senior Bella Hersey marched with the 4-H Club during Scituate’s 2022 St. Patrick’s Day parade

Patricia Gibbons, Contributing Writer

Chicago dyes their river green. Washington, D.C. has a Shamrock Festival. And Scituate hosts one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parades in New England. So, how did such a small town come to host an Irish celebration that draws thousands of visitors and brings the South Shore community together? 

According to the 2017 U.S. Census, Scituate is one of the most Irish towns in America. This legacy dates back to the rush of Irish immigrants during the potato famine in 1849. 

Ever since 1991, Scituate has held a parade to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; however, it was originally a local party hosted by residents in the Minot neighborhood. 

In 1998, the parade became so large it was moved to the Harbor so local authorities, such as the police department, could oversee the floats and marchers. What was originally a small, local get-together turned into a town-wide celebration. 

Scituate resident Liz Charlton, an event coordinator for the parade, stated, “It takes months of planning to hire the entertainers and provide funding.” Since  the Town of Scituate doesn’t pay for the parade, generous donations are needed to host the event.

The biggest annual fundraiser for the parade is the mock election for town mayor. Participants pay $1 each to cast their vote. Proceeds from the election, approximately $52,000, help cover parade expenses. Typical costs include entertainment, police and traffic details, electronic parking signs, and buses to transport parade participants and parade watchers from designated parking areas to the Harbor. 

Lisa Brennan, who also helps organize the parade, said her favorite part is “participating in the events.” Brennan said she loves “how almost everyone in Scituate embraces the event leading up to and during the parade.” 

SHS sophomore Leona Breitenstein has a 6-year-old younger sister who “loves the parade.” Breitenstein said her favorite part is “watching her sister collect the candy, and watching all the floats from the sidewalk.” 

In 2020 and 2021, Scituate did not host a St. Patrick’s Day parade due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fortunately, the parade will be held once again this year: On Sunday, March 19th, the St. Patrick’s Day parade will start at 1:00 PM at the old Gates School, proceed down First Parish Road, continue through Front Street in the Harbor, and end at the Scituate Harbor Community Center at 44 Jericho Road.