Thousands of people are expected to gather at the square on Sunday for the fifth annual nighttime St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
“It began the year Mayor Uran took office, and it was something he really wanted to bring to the city,” said Diana Bosse, special events administrator for the mayor’s office. “It’s the only lighted night parade in the area. We wanted to do something different but keep the family atmosphere.”
The parade begins at dusk, about 6:45 p.m., and starts at Solan Robinson Elementary School then goes to Wells, then Main Street, north and around the square to Court Street and Walnut.
The parade is limited to 32 entries, representing each of the 32 counties of Ireland. The number is deliberately kept small so the parade doesn’t run too long, especially because it falls on a school night.
“We want it to be a fun, family-friendly event,” Bosse said. “We want families to come out and enjoy it, but still get kids up for school the next day.”
Parade participants include the Lake County Pipes and Drums and Band of Brothers Pipes and Drums, as well as the Hoosier Lottery, the Gary Railcats and local businesses and civic organizations. Mayor David D.F. Uran will be the parade’s Grand Marshall.
“The Shriners will be there with their mini-cars, there are car clubs and a girls roller derby team,” she said. “It’s a real variety of entries.”
To celebrate the nighttime parade, the floats, vehicles and walkers will be illuminated, Bosse said.
“Walking groups light themselves up with glow sticks, and every car in the parade is required to have at least 500 lights on it,” she said. “We’ve had horses in the past, and the horses wore glow-stick necklaces. They are all very unique in how they light up their entries.”
The St. Patrick’s Day festivities begin earlier in the day, with a St. Baldrick’s Day event beginning at noon at the Crown Point Fire Rescue Department.
There also is the Carry-Out or Dine-In Corned Beef and Cabbage Dinner fire department from 1 p.m.
Starting at 3:30 p.m., there will be entertainment on the square including performances by the Crown Point High School Pep Band, the Crown Point Community Theater, and Dance Factory.
Beginning at 3 p.m., vendors will be offering food and other items along the south side of Courthouse Square. Because of the event’s family-friendly atmosphere, there will be no beer garden or alcohol sales by vendors, Bosse said.
Last year, more than 25,000 people attended the parade on the square, Bosse said.
“We want people to come out and have a good time,” she said. “We’re really looking forward to another great event, whether the weather is 70 degrees or 42 degrees. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”