Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in KC

(Elena Mozhvilo/Unsplash).

Leprechauns, gold coins, Irish flags, vibrant parades and green everything. These are common features of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations around the Kansas City area that you can expect to see this year. A little known fact about Kansas City is that Irish heritage is the second largest self-identified ancestry in the area. The prominence of this heritage has led to the recognition of the Irish immigrants who helped makeKansas City the thriving hub that it is today.

In the mid-1800s, the towns of Westport and Independence were centers of commerce for those living in the surrounding areas and others that were traveling on the Santa Fe and Oregon trails. Irish immigrants living in these towns established themselves in the area through helping to build roads and railroads that developed the Kansas City area and connected it to the rest of the country.

Along with their role in establishing the infrastructure of Kansas City, Irish immigrants also brought their culture and heritage here through their food, music, dance and celebrations. One such celebration is St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is a traditional Irish celebration that occurs annually on March 17, the anniversary of the death of Saint Patrick. The Irish have observed this day as a religious holiday since around the ninth or 10th century. What began as a Roman Catholic feast day has now evolved into a worldwide celebration featuring parades, leprechauns and revelry. 

The Kansas City St. Patrick’s Day Parade is celebrating its 50th year with the theme of “50 Cheers to 50 Years” on March 17. The parade will feature a variety of entries that celebrate the Irish heritage through traditional music, dance and icons like the shamrock. Beginning at 11 a.m. at Broadway & Linwood, the parade route proceeds along Broadway and ends in Westport

Businesses along the parade route will be selling food and drink, so make sure to stop by some Irish-owned businesses in the area such as Browne’s Irish Marketplace. For those of age, you will be sure to find some hearty Irish-themed pubs throughout the metro such as O’Dowd’s at the Country Club Plaza, Kelly’s Westport Inn near the end of the parade route or McFadden’s Sports Saloon in the Power & Light District.

St. Patrick’s Day brings about a vibrant and celebratory environment to the Kansas City metro, so make sure to get out and enjoy the festivities before heading back to class after spring break!

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