Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival


How it all began:

The parade started in 1983 with a dozen or so enthusiastic Irish-Americans marching down Wilmington St. to the delight and curiosity of downtown residents, merchants and shoppers. The parade was organized initially by John McIntyre and Gail Massari. John and Gail kept the parade going and growing until 1988 when John was transferred to Germany. Prior to leaving for Germany they asked Raleigh's Friends of Ireland (FOI) organization to continue the work they started. The FOI board agreed to organize the parade. Frank Mellage became involved with the parade at that time. He served on the Parade committee from 1989-1992 and became Chairman of the committee for the 1993 St. Patrick's Day Parade.  In 2000 an independent Raleigh Saint Patrick's Day Parade Committee was formed with members from other local Irish organizations. The 2019 Parade will be the 37th!

Past Grand Marshals

  • 2019 Don Schwenneker, Meteorologist ABC 11 Eyewitness News
  • 2018 Bill Leslie, WRAL Newscaster and Celtic Musician
  • 2017 Annie Nice, Tir na nOg
  • 2016 Kelly McGrath O'Doherty, NC Rose of Tralee Director
  • 2015 Jerry Parnell, Lead Piper
  • 2014 John McGrath, Raleigh Fire Chief
  • 2013 Frank Mellage, Former Parade Director
  • 2012 Nancy McFarlane, Raleigh Mayor
  • 2011 Ed Cody, Raleigh Humanitarian
  • 2010 Bill Reh, NBC 17 Meteorologist
  • 2009 Tom O'Brien, NC State University Football Coach
  • 2008 Harry Patrick Dolan, Raleigh Police Chief
  • 2007 Debra Morgan, WRAL Anchor/Reporter
  • 2006 Richard H. Moore, NC State Treasurer
  • 2005 Steve McLaurin, McLaurin Parking
  • 2004 Bill Gaines, NBC 17 Anchor/Reporter
  • 2003 Charles Meeker, Raleigh Mayor
  • 2002 Jane Perlov, Raleigh Police Chief
  • 2001 Sharon Delaney, NBC 17 Anchor/Reporter
  • 2000 Paul Coble, Raleigh Mayor
  • 1999 Kieran J. Shanahan, Raleigh City Council
  • 1998 Donna Gregory, NBC 17 Anchor/Reporter
  • 1997 Sylvia Wiggins, Helping Hand Mission Director
  • 1996 Pam Saulsby, WRAL Anchor/Reporter
  • 1995 Tom Fetzer, Raleigh Mayor
  • 1994 Fred Heineman, Raleigh Police Chief
  • 1993 David Allen, Fox Anchor/Reporter
  • 1992 John McIntyre, Parade Founder