March 9th: Milwaukee’s Vibrant St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Milwaukee is gearing up for a vibrant celebration of Irish culture with the 56th Shamrock Club of Wisconsin St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Scheduled for Saturday, March 9, 2024, the parade will fill downtown Milwaukee with the spirit of Ireland, featuring over 100 parade units, including Irish dance groups, pipe and drum corps, and local dignitaries. 

Photo from Westown Association

The parade steps off at noon from Wisconsin Avenue and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive.

Parking will be available at The Avenue for a special rate of $3 during the parade hours. Entrances to this parking option are located at 615 N Plankinton Ave & 258 W Michigan St., with the special rate applicable from 8 am to 3 pm.

For those considering alternative transportation options, ride-share services and public transit, including The Hop and MCTS, are recommended for safe and responsible travel to and from the parade festivities. 

The City of Milwaukee will implement temporary “No Parking” signs along the parade route, with enforcement beginning at 7 a.m. on the day of the parade. Vehicles parked on the street at this time will be subject to towing to ensure the parade route is clear for participants and spectators alike.

To accommodate the parade, street closures will commence at 10 a.m. in the staging area, affecting W Wisconsin Ave. from MLK Dr. to N 6th, N Vel R. Phillips Ave. from W Wisconsin Ave. to W Clybourn St. (W Michigan St. will remain open to traffic), N 3rd from W Michigan St. to W Everett St., and W Everett St. from N 3rd to N Vel R. Phillips Ave. 

Photo from Westown Association

The parade route itself will see closures beginning at 11:45 a.m., impacting W Wisconsin Ave. from MLK Dr. to N Plankinton Ave., N Plankinton Ave. from W Wisconsin Ave. to W Kilbourn Ave., W Kilbourn Ave. from N Plankinton Ave. to N MLK Dr., N MLK Dr. from W Kilbourn Ave. to W Juneau Ave., W Juneau Ave. from N MLK Dr. to N Water St., and N Water St. from E Juneau Ave. to E Highland Ave.

Following the parade, the de-staging area on N Water St. from E Highland Ave. to E State St., and E Highland Ave. from N Broadway to N Edison St., will close at approximately 1 p.m. and will reopen once all units are cleared, around 2:30 p.m.

On the morning of the parade, the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin will host its annual mass in honor of Saint Patrick at the historic Saint Patrick’s Church at 8:30 a.m. The mass will include songs and hymns in both English and Irish and feature a sign language interpreter for the hearing impaired.

Photo from Westown Association

Following the parade, the Irish Cultural & Heritage Center will host Milwaukee’s largest, family-friendly Parade day party from 1-6 p.m. The event will offer four stages of continuous entertainment, including performances by four dance schools, six bands, and a super raffle. Details on admission and the entertainment lineup are available at mkepostparade.us.

The parade has a storied history, dating back to its first procession on March 17, 1843, making it one of the earliest St. Patrick’s Day parades in the United States and the first outside the 13 original colonies. 

Photo from Westown Association

Originally inspired by the Repeal and Temperance Movements of the time, the parade began even before Wisconsin achieved statehood and Milwaukee was incorporated as a city.

After undergoing various changes and routes over the years, the parade returned to its downtown roots in 2002, thanks to efforts to honor and celebrate Milwaukee’s Irish heritage and the broader Irish-American experience. 

The modern version of the parade started in 1967, with the inaugural event held by the Shamrock Club of Wisconsin on Wisconsin Avenue, establishing a tradition that has grown and evolved over the decades.


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