Preparations are underway for the Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival on Saturday, with safe performances at the forefront of participants' minds.
"We're really excited to participate this year," An Gorta Mor Memorial Pipe Band's Dennis O'Brien said.
Saturday's parade in Raleigh will mark the first since the tragic death of Hailey Brooks, 11, who was hit by an out-of-control truck while performing in the Raleigh Christmas Parade on Nov. 19.
"Of course, it changes us," Tracy Berliant of Raleigh GAA said. "It's a very scary thing. But I feel like we need to rise up, learn from it and enjoy and let the kids have joy in their lives too."
The City of Raleigh updated its parade rules to include an age limit for participating drivers, an adult supervisor for participating minors and limiting the number of passengers in participating vehicles to one adult 18 or older.
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"I think we have to put these precautions and safety regulations in place," parade grand marshal Sandra Holland said. "For example, our organization has over 60 kids that might be marching tomorrow ... it's about everyone's safety."
While Holland finds the regulations necessary, it's not overbearing to those who want to spread Irish cheer.
"There's actually a really large Irish community here in the Triangle," Berliant said. "But there's lots of other kids that have a heritage ... or none at all. It's a community, and it's a time for us to share our community and our spirit with the wider community here."
Holland echoed Berliant in spreading positivity.
"It's very important for our mental well-being to be outside and celebrate things," Holland said. "That's what it's all about. The smiles on everybody's faces, particularly the young people. That's what you want to see."
The parade starts at 10 a.m. on Saturday on North Wilmington Street in downtown Raleigh. ABC11 Meteorologist Don Schweeneker to serve as emcee. According to its website, the parade will march on rain or shine!