Community News

Let’s Celebrate Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day with the Ballyshaners!

On Saturday, September 18, from 11 am-7 pm, Alexandria’s Ballyshaners welcome you to celebrate Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day!

Kena Shriners in their tiny cars! (Photo: James Cullum for Zebra)

Alexandria, VA – On Saturday, September 18, from 11 am-7 pm, Alexandria’s Ballyshaners welcome you to celebrate Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day!

Founded in 1980 to organize a Saint Patrick’s Day parade in Old Town, the Ballyshaners began from a small group of local volunteers. From that first parade, the Ballyshaners grew by building relationships with local businesses, developing an outreach program, and recruiting more volunteers. Aiming to promote and preserve Irish heritage, history, and culture, the group regularly hosts events, festivals, and parades featuring local music, businesses, and vendors.

Newzie, the ZEBRA mascot, always makes lots of friends at the St. Patrick’s Parade! (Photo: Zebra)

The St. Patrick’s Day parade draws prominent Irish musicians from across the region. More than 2,000 people participated in the March 7, 2020, parade that included the famous City of Alexandria Pipes and Drums, Shriners and Kena mini red Corvettes, scores of Irish dancers, local businesses and, of course, local politicians. Also the NYPD Pipes and Drums.

One week later, the NYC parade and activities worldwide were canceled.

Alexandria, VA Town Crier Benjamin Walker rings in the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Old Town. (Photo: Eli Wilson)

Because it took place early in March, Alexandria was one of very few cities to host a 2020 Saint Patrick’s Day parade. Ballyshaners chair Kimberly Moore says, “We were so glad to have given our shops and restaurants a big business day before everything shut down.”

It has been over 18 months since the shutdown. Without a Saint Patrick’s Day parade in 2021, the Ballyshaners, along with fellow Alexandrians, are eager to get back out and celebrate whenever a chance should arise. “We expect a pretty good turnout,” says Kaitlyn Likas, head of public relations. “We feel as though people want to make up for lost time. This event will give them something fun to do that also shares the history and customs of Ireland.”

City of Alexandria Pipe and Drums in the 2020 St. Patrick’s Parade. (Photo: Zebra)

Interest in the Ballyshaner’s March parade remains strong, so this Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day celebration will spur that interest on. “This festival serves our favorite restaurants and stores as we are trying to get back to normal. We are proud to say we are still alive and thriving. We are proceeding forward, onward, and upward,” Kaitlyn adds.

The O’Neill-James School of Irish Dance in the 2020 Old Town St. Patrick’s Parade. (Photo: Zebra)

Join the Ballyshaners on Saturday, September 18, from 11 am-7 pm at Waterfront Park for music, food, Irish dancers, a beer truck, and other festivities as they celebrate Halfway to Saint Patrick’s Day with your favorite local businesses.

: Bagpipers extraordinaire from a previous Saint Patrick’s Day parade. (Courtesy the Ballyshaners)

“We always are thrilled to bring a fun day to Alexandria,” Kim Moore adds with gusto. For details on the event, visit

ICYMI: Good Friends, Yummy Food, and a Great Deal at Sonoma Cellar on King Street!

Related Articles

Back to top button