HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The 70th Annual Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade stepped off through the city on Sunday. 

Drawing on the Irish heritage of Holyoke from its earliest days known as “Ireland Parish”, the inaugural Saint Patrick’s Parade was hosted on March 16th, 1952 with 25,000 people watching along the parade route. That number grew to 100,000 by 1960, 200,000 by 1975, and reached a peak of over 400,000 in 2011.

The Holyoke St. Patrick’s Parade showcases prize-winning floats, championship bands from the northeast, and notable celebrities each year. Musical acts include international bands, high school bands, and the famed Philadelphia Mummers String Bands, an annual favorite since 1967.