By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thousands will pack the streets downtown Saturday morning for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but with temperatures possibly in the teens or 20s, the conditions could be dangerous for some.

Whatever the weather, the festivities will go on, like they did during the blizzard of 1993.

“It’s happening,” said Mac McCafferty, the parade chairman. “If we did it in ’93, we’re doing it tomorrow. It’s gonna happen.”

The parade will step off at 10 a.m. sharp, head up Grant Street to the Boulevard of the Allies and down towards The Point.

The Virginia Commonwealth Band provided some entertainment in Market Square Friday afternoon, but come Saturday morning, they’ll be marching along with 38 other bands.

But the bands are just the beginning. From floats to dancers to Irish pups and politicians, the parade always has a lot to offer.

McCafferty says there will also be a “15-foot cow. It’s a big, gigantic fiberglass cow.”

But just know the conditions will be for the hearty and prepared.

“You’re going to need scarves, you’re going to need face masks, whatever you necessarily need to do, or try to be sitting in the sun,” said Pittsburgh Operations Chief Guy Costa.

Dr. Ben Lawner, an emergency medicine specialist at Allegheny General Hospital, says if you’re taking kids to the parade, they should be wearing a hat. He says kids and the elderly are most susceptible to the cold temperatures.

KDKA’s David Highfield Reports:

“Obviously, extremities shouldn’t hurt when you’re out in the cold. Also, any type of confusion, so if people start to get a little sleepy or confused that’s an indication of you’ve been out in the cold way too long.”

And when it’s cold, you might not think about drinking water, but Dr. Lawner says, “Stay well hydrated. That does not mean with alcohol. Alcohol can kind of blunt your awareness and make you more susceptible to the cold.”

The parade and the early fun in Market Square are both alcohol free and family-friendly.

“There’s going to some entertainment on the stage, some Irish dancers performing,” said Mark Burnett, the organizer of the festivities in Market Square.

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But after 2 p.m., the music and spirits will flow.

“You have to stop in one of the restaurants, they’ll check your ID and they’ll give you a wristband and a hand stamp, and that will enable you to be out enjoying the party and the bands,” said Costa.

Last call in Market Square is at 5:30 p.m., but the partying on the South Side will roll into the night. Revelers are encouraged to park free in the Second Avenue lot near the 10th Street Bridge.

“Take advantage of the shuttle service from the Second Avenue Parking Lot from the Parking Authority, it’s a free shuttle over to the South Side and back,” Costa said.

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