RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Raleigh St. Patrick's Day Parade makes a return this weekend after a 2-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
The parade begins at 10:30 a.m. -- 30 minutes later than it was originally scheduled due to expected rain Saturday morning. ABC11 Chief Meteorologist Don Schwenneker will co-host the parade.
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In previous years, this parade has drawn thousands of people to downtown Raleigh.
"We definitely focus on our Irish traditions, our marching bagpipe bands, as well as traditional Irish music, as well as the Irish dancing. We have three different Irish dancing schools in the parade," parade organizer Dianne Enright said.
For downtown restaurants, the expectation of thousands of people coming downtown is welcome.
"I think it's important for downtown as a whole, not just for our business. But anything that can bring thousands of people downtown is going to be a good event considering the last year or two," said Russell Owens, the manager at Jimmy V's Osteria and Bar.
"I'm really looking forward to all the people that are going to be here. It's going to be refreshing seeing people having fun," added Bonnie Wilkes, who works at The Big Easy.
While some festivals and parades did return in 2021, they often operated with capacity limits and strict protocols.
"I'm going to definitely wear my green tomorrow. I'm excited to see all the green, that's also the color of money," said Lorenza Mallette, who works at The Big Easy.
The parade route starts at Lane and Wilmington, turns onto East Wilmington briefly, then on to Fayetteville, before finishing up on North Salisbury and West Lenoir.
You can watch the parade live on ABC11's 24x7 streaming channel, available for free in the ABC11 North Carolina app on your favorite connected device