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Boston ready for St. Patrick's Day parade

Posted by Andrew Tran  March 18, 2012 12:30 PM

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(Bill Greene/Globe Staff)

A scene from the 20011 St. Patrick's Day Parade in South Boston.

Marchers and revelers were out in South Boston early Sunday morning getting ready for the South Boston St. Patrick's Day Parade, which starts at one.

"We got here early because last year it was a huge mess," said Jillian Willey, 21, a Braintree resident who staked out at her spot on West Broadway at 8:30 a.m. "I just love the parade. The floats are a lot fun and its cool to watch all the people."

Those who will be matching in the parade were also up bright and early, painting their faces green and making final adjustment to their floats.

"It's the tradition that we love," said Charlie Geary, 48, a member of the Sheet Metal Local 17. "we will have five or six members passing out beads and candy and a bunch of people marching along."

This will be the 15th year Local 17 has marched in the parade. When asked if Geary ever gets sick of the parade he said, "hell no."

With good weather hundreds of thousands of revelers are expected to throng the streets of South Boston on Sunday for one of the country's signature St. Patrick's Day parades. Here is a guide to key things you need to know about the festivities, from parking to where to get the best views.

Start Times:

This year, those who come to South Boston on Sunday will get the chance to watch not only one, but two parades. The traditional main parade, organized by the Allied War Veterans Council, begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Broadway MBTA station.

Once the first parade has made it a mile down the parade route, the Veterans for Peace and its St. Patrick’s Peace Parade will start marching. Both parades will follow the same route and end at the Andrew Square MBTA station.

Where to Watch:

There are thousands of great spots throughout South Boston to check out the floats and marchers, as they parade around the neighborhood. has put together a gallery highlighting some of the best spots to watch the parade from. To see the gallery, click here.

Public Transit:

The city is strongly encouraging people looking to visit the neighborhood to take public transportation. The parades begin at the Broadway MBTA Station and end at the Andrew Square MBTA Station.

The MBTA will be adding additional Red Line trains to handle all the parade goers.

From 7:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. there will be extra service on the #7 bus, which runs from the Convention Center to City Points.

At 11 a.m. routes #9, #10, and #11 will experience 30 minute delays because of the Boys and Girls Club's St. Patrick’s Day 5k race.

The MBTA has also had to make adjustments to a number of its bus routes that run along or near the parade route. Starting at 11:30 a.m. the following bus routes service will be affected until the end of the parades.

- Routes #9 and #11 will be out of service during the parades.
- Route #10 will still run but will not connect at Andrew Station.
- Route #16 will still run but will not connect at Andrew Station.
- Route #17 will still run but will not connect at Andrew Station.
- Route #18 will still run but will not connect at Andrew Station.
- Route #47 will still run but will not connect at Broadway Station.

After the parades have cleared the MBTA will provide extra buses on route #9.

For more information about public transit options and closures, click here.

Family Zones:

The South Boston Association of Non-Profits and South Boston CAN Reduce Underage Drinking have set up "family zones", to makes sure that everyone has a safe and fun St. Patrick’s Day.

The zones will be open Sunday from 12:30 p.m. to the end of the parade.

There will be three zones this year:

- The Action Center (Elmo) at 424 West Broadway.
- Old Colony (Dora) at the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Rev. Burke Street.
- The Laboure, (Winnie the Pooh) at 275 West Broadway.

The zones feature a safe and sober venue to watch the parade and will also have snacks, arts and crafts and fun children's activities.

All families looking to take part in the "family zone" activities must check in at the registration table, to get a stamp for the day.

For more information contact Kay Walsh at (617) 269 – 5160 X126.


The Police Department and the city will be working throughout the day to make sure that those enjoying the parade do so safely.

BPD has released its "Message to the Community", reminding revelers about local ordinances, from public drinking to rowdy party goers.

Officers will also conduct walkthroughs of bars and city streets and remind students that it is working closely with local colleges and universities, and that any student arrested could face additional penalties from their respective school.

For a refresher on the law, click here.

Liquor stores in South Boston will close at 4:00 p.m. Bars will close at 7:30 p.m.

The city and BPD are also encouraging residents to uses BPD’s “Party Line” to report unruly parties on their streets. The number is 617-343-5500.


Because of the parades and the Boys and Girls Club’s St. Patrick’s Day 5k, there will be a slew of street closures and traffic delays.

In the morning on East Broadway, from the Farragut Statue to E Street drivers can expect traffic delays because of the 5k.

The race will travel along the following streets and begins at 11:00 a.m.:

Runners will gather at the intersection of F and West Sixth Streets, the race will go down West Sixth Street on Dorchester Street, right onto East Broadway, down and around the Farragut Statue at Day Boulevard, to East Broadway, right onto West Broadway, left onto E Street, left onto West Sixth Street, ending at the Boys and Girls Club located at 230 West Sixth St.

For more information about the race or the route, click here.

BPD will also close a number of streets on Sunday, to accommodate the parades. Marchers will gather at Dorchester Avenue, between Gillette Park and Old Colony Avenue, and West Broadway, between Dorchester Avenue and A Street.

The parades will travel along the following route:

West Broadway, left on East Broadway, right onto P Street, right onto East Fourth Street, left onto K Street, right onto East Fifth Street, left onto G Street, right onto Thomas Park, left onto Telegraph Street, left onto Dorchester Street, ending at Dorchester Avenue.

For a map of the parade route, click here.


While parking in South Boston is difficult no matter what, those who are lucky enough to score a metered space Sunday will enjoy free parking. The city, however will be strictly enforcing rules regarding resident spots.

On Sunday the city will also be closing and restricting parking on a number of streets.

“Tow Zone No Stopping Sunday Parade” signs will be posted at the following locations:

Dorchester Avenue
Both sides, from Gillette Park to Old Colony Avenue.
Both sides, from Andrew Square to the bridge over the Southeast Expressway.

Old Colony Avenue
Both sides, from Dorchester Avenue to C Street.

West Broadway
Both sides, from Dorchester Avenue to Dorchester Street.

D Street
Both sides, from West Broadway to West First Street.

East Broadway
Both sides, from Dorchester Street to P Street.

P Street
Both sides, from East Broadway to East Fourth Street.

East Fourth Street
Both sides, from P Street to K Street.

K Street
Both sides, from East Fourth Street to East Fifth Street.

East Fifth Street
Both sides, from K Street to G Street.

G Street
Both sides, from East Fourth Street to Thomas Park.

Thomas Park
Both sides, southerly arm, from G Street to Telegraph Street.

Telegraph Street
Both sides, from Thomas Park to Dorchester Street.

Dorchester Street
Both sides, northwesterly roadway, from Telegraph Street to Dorchester Avenue.

Emerson Street
Even side, from I Street to #112 Emerson Street, and High School side, from G Street to opposite #1 Thomas Park.

Southampton Street
Both sides, from Andrew Square to the bridge over the Southeast Expressway.

Do to the Boys and Girls Club’s St. Patrick’s Day 5k, “Tow Zone No Stopping Sunday Parade” signs will also be posted at the following locations:

West Sixth Street
Both sides, from F Street southwesterly to Dorchester Street.

F Street
Boys & Girls Club side, from West Sixth Street to Bowen Street.

E-mail Patrick D. Rosso, Follow him @PDRosso, or friend him on Facebook.

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