From the Vault: St. Patrick's Day in Cincinnati over a half a century

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Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 16, 2017

CINCINNATI -- Parts of '60s Cincinnati would be unrecognizable to a modern visitor, but the St. Patrick's Day Parade isn't one of them.

Beer, bars, and a flashy parade with step dancing and bagpipes have defined the Queen City's St. Patrick's Day celebration for more than a half century.

BELOW: Cincinnati's St. Patrick's Day Parade, 1970


Cincinnati's first St. Patrick's Day parade was in 1967, according to the parade's website. In that first parade, "what started out as a small religious procession" grew by the second when Irish Cincinnatians and Catholics left work, stores and restaurants to march alongside the Ancient Order of Hibernians.

Since 1967, the parade has never been canceled, even when forecasts called for heavy wind, rain or snow, according to the AOH. The parade marched over several inches of snow in 1999. Then, in 2003, strong wind caused a bit of a scene: Some paradegoers festively dressed in kilts accidentally flashed crowds of people, including some of WCPO's tenured staff (who regrettably recounted the experience). 

Cincinnati's families with Irish heritage fight tooth and nail for their own floats in the parade. The tradition of huge banners bearing Irish surnames continues today.

GALLERY: Cincinnati St. Patrick's Day Parade

Greater Cincinnati's Irish pubs have their own celebrations on parade day and on March 17, which don't always match up. Crowley's in Mount Adams, Molly Malone's in Covington and Pleasant Ridge, Hap's Irish Pub in Hyde Park, and, of course, Fountain Square.

BELOW: St. Patrick's Day barhopping in Cincinnati, 1982