Dublin slates 'green' and 'grand' St. Patrick's Day event: a 'reverse parade'
Any parade is better than no parade, right?
As such, Dublin officials are taking a new approach to staging this year’s St. Patrick’s Day parade.
After being forced to cancel the parade last March during the onset of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, parade organizers had a full year to consider how to stage some sort of event as the pandemic continues.
From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 13 at Darree Fields, 6259 Cosgray Road, Dublin will present the 2021 Greenest Grandest Parade.
The event will be a “reverse parade” in which the floats and participants remain in one place while people drive by in their vehicles, said Shirley Blaine, a public-information officer for Dublin.
“Rather than large groups of spectators gathering along Frantz Road, Bridge Street and High Street, they will instead drive through the parade at Darree Fields and remain safely in their vehicles," she said. "A reverse parade is a creative way to hold a physically distanced celebration."
The parade will celebrate Irish spirit with bagpipers, Irish dancers, floats, helium balloons and other creative performances in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, according to Blaine.
St. Patrick's Day is March 17 this year.
“The St. Patrick’s Day parade is a well-loved tradition in our community," said community-events director Alison LeRoy. "We want to give people the opportunity to celebrate safely while still providing that Greenest Grandest Parade experience you can only get in Dublin, Ohio."
Jill Kranstuber was selected to serve as the 2020 Grand Leprechaun for the parade, but because it was canceled, she will be the 2021 Grand Leprechaun.
City officials are encouraging spectators to decorate their vehicles.
Drivers will enter Darree Fields at the Cosgray and Shier Rings roads roundabout, and occupants must remain in their vehicles at all times.
Spectators are asked not to arrive before 11 a.m., and the gates will close promptly at 1 p.m. Those who are in the drive-through entrance by 1 p.m. will be able to finish the parade route, which is available at dublinohiousa.gov/living/st-patricks-day-parade-route.
If just watching isn’t enough, you still have time to participate in the reverse parade, as applications are being accepted until Feb. 26.
Applications may be submitted at dublinohiousa.gov/events/st-patricks-day-parade-apply-now.
City staff members, volunteers and parade participants must wear masks at all times, except when actively performing, and no candy or items will be distributed, according to the city’s parade policy.
The idea for a reverse parade was suggested by Trish Lackey, Dublin's parade manager, who learned about the concept during a seminar by the International Festival and Events Association.
"Montgomery, Ohio, received national media attention for its Fourth of July reverse parade, (and) the idea has spread across the county, (but) this is the only St. Patrick's Day reverse parade in central Ohio, to our knowledge," Blaine said.