PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Thousands decked out in green flocked downtown late Saturday morning for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

The parade was filled with everything you want and expect to see for St. Patrick’s Day, including bagpipes, step-dancing and Miss Smiling Irish Eyes. Police officers, firefighters and marching bands filled out the rest of the parade, among the floats and other groups marching. The parade also featured appearances from a green-suited Santa Claus, the Pittsburgh Pirate Parrot and Pittsburgh Steelers mascot Steely McBeam.

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First-time parade goers, parade regulars, people of Irish heritage and people just in the mood to celebrate all joined in the festivities at one of the biggest St. Patrick’s Day Parades in the country.

Mark Harlin from Mount Washington and Shannon Secreti from Muse, Pa., say they come out to the parade every year.

Secreti: “We’ve come in rain, snow.”
Harlin: “Yeah, it doesn’t matter whether it’s rain, snow, sleet, we’re here. It’s Pittsburgh.”

Many parents were there to bring their children for their first Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade, including Didi Edie of the North Side, who had been in the parade herself once.

“I haven’t been here for a long time, but I marched in it when I was a kid,” said Didi Edie of the North Side. “I went to St. Francis Catholic School, and it was a really big deal for us to march in the parade.”

Others came out on their own to experience the fun for the first time.

“I haven’t been to one of these before and I just love the energy and everything about it,” Tristen Lucas of West Allegheny said, “and it’s just so fun to see everyone dancing and having a good time.”

The West Virginia University fife and drum corps also made their first trip to the parade, marching the entire route. George Willis, the director of percussion studies at WVU, doesn’t have any Irish blood in him, but he says the corps is eager to return in the future.

“We actually want to get out in this region and share the music of the fife and drum with everybody in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio,” Willis said.