PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thousands put on their green and flocked to Downtown Pittsburgh Saturday to take in what’s billed as one of the largest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the country.

As the sun came up over Pittsburgh this morning, the streets became a sea of green with thousands waiting anxiously for the annual parade.

READ MORE: Moderna Says Its COVID-19 Vaccine Is 96 Percent Effective In Children 12 To 17 Years Old

“The sun’s out; it’s shining,” said Kevin Larkin, a parade participant. “It’s a great day to be Irish.”

This was the first St. Patrick’s Day Parade experience for some.

“Never been down here before; really never celebrated St. Patrick’s Day,” said Shane Wolf, a parade-goer. “This is incredible.”

“I’m having a great time. Beautiful day; lots of people; first time at the parade,” added Matt Kolonich, another parade-goer. “I love it.”

Sally Smith and family were celebrating their Irish heritage without her 86-year-old mother who just got out of the hospital.

“We just feel so bad because she comes every year with us,” said Smith.

READ MORE: Study: Lack Of Healthcare Prevents Longer, Healthier Living In Pennsylvania

Meanwhile, retired firefighter Bill Suchacek attended his 33rd St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Suchacek… O’Suchacek today!” he said.

Whether you are Irish or not, it was a great day for a parade, and not just because of the weather.

“I think the spirit that’s here just marks the spirit of Southwest Pennsylvania, which is terrific,” said Bishop David Zubik, of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

As always, a number of dignitaries and politicians participated in the parade, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl, Gov. Tom Corbett, and even Vice President Joe Biden walked the streets offering handshakes and greetings.

It may be called the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, but it’s also the never-ending parade with more than 23,000 participants including high school marching bands, police and fire units, Irish groups, and even non-Irish groups.

New York City might be the biggest parade, but Pittsburgh’s parade is number one in the hearts and minds of Western Pennsylvanians.

MORE NEWS: Butler County Leaders Announce Plan To Address Flooding Concerns In Communities

CBS News Photo Gallery: St. Patrick’s Day around the world
More Local News