Fargo-Moorhead St. Patrick's parade marks 25th anniversary

Fifty units are lined up for Saturday parade through Moorhead and Fargo, with other events also planned.

St. Patrick's Day parade 2012
Crowds packed the streets in downtown Fargo for the 2012 St. Patrick's Day parade when it was almost 80 degrees.
Forum file photo

FARGO — It'll be the 25th year of the St. Patrick's parade in Fargo and Moorhead this Saturday, March 19, at 11 a.m.

It's part of several activities planned for the day, with the weather expected to be in the mid-40s and sunshine.

Downtown Community Partnership Program Coordinator Sarah Louise said she has been excited about working with the three original founders of the parade who are still on the planning committee this year.

They are Brian Quigley, Ellen Mahli and Maggie Ringette.

The parade, which started in 1996, has marched through all types of weather and has only been called off completely when the pandemic hit in 2020.


There was another year when a blizzard caused the parade to be canceled; however, a group circled around Duffy's Tavern a few times in the horrible conditions and they counted that among the events.

For Mahli, she said her sons when they moved here missed the St. Paul parade and she said they started out having a neighborhood parade and party.

Then, she got together with the others and with the help of her son, Dan, they got the ball rolling in 1996 and were surprised at the number of people that joined in the event on Broadway.

"I never thought it would last this long," said the 83-year-old, who has carried the original parade banner on foot for all of the 25 years.

She'll be there again this year, she said, and has been getting a lot of calls from people about the event.

About 50 units have already signed up for the parade that starts near the Moorhead Center Mall and then continues down Center Avenue to NP Avenue in Fargo and then turns north on Broadway to Fourth Avenue North.

The Heather and Thistle Pipes and Drums corps from the area will again be one of main units with its bagpipe and drums leading the parade, showing its appreciation for the Celtic heritage and culture.

On their Facebook page they said "Woo-hoo!" and called the forecasted weather a "heat wave."


Other parade entries are Bonnie Haney Dance Studio's Irish dancers, the Irish Gazette newspaper float from St. Paul, a group of Corgis in Irish costumes and Mahli carrying the original banner for the parade as she has for most of the 25 years.

Five "clans" or families of Irish heritage have also signed up to be in the parade.

Louise said the partnership, which took over a majority of the planning for the parade in 2019 at the urging of Mayor Tim Mahoney after there were some concerns about the financing and security for the event.

Jefferson Bus Lines, whose service relocated to the downtown bus depot a few years ago, also stepped up to be the main sponsor of the event. Other businesses have also provided funding to keep the event going.

"The cool thing about this event is the grassroots support," Louise said. "We consider it an honor to work with the original committee and others on the event and appreciate the work they have done."

For Mahli, she said the parade has "always been intended to be for families and the kids."

"It's all about getting out in the spring and having fun," Mahli, who said she has always enjoyed parades since her childhood.

There are also other activities planned for Saturday including the second annual Shamrock N Run starting early Saturday morning, the Celtic Festival at the Hjemkomst Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the downtown Pub Crawl starting at 1 p.m.


The Shamrock run will have signup packets available starting Friday and also early Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. where the races start at 7:30 a.m. with the 21K. There will also be a 14K starting at 8:30 a.m. and the 7K at 9:30 a.m.

The Celtic Festival, put on by the Moorhead Parks and Recreation Department, is returning after a two-year absence and celebrates the regions and nations of Brittany, Cornwall, Galicia, Ireland, Isle of Man, Scotland and Wales.

There will be two entertainment stages with live music, dancing and storytelling and also booths.

Concordia College catering will serve Celtic cuisine with bangers and mash, scotch eggs and Irish stew.

Organizer Trevor Magnuson said it's the 18th year for the event and they will have a lineup of entertainment from throughout the region including St. Cloud, the Twin Cities and Wisconsin.

The cost is $5 per person with children 10 and under free.

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