SCRANTON -- On the eve of the annual Saint Patrick’s parade in Scranton, the festivities were already in full swing.
For one group of friends at Ale Mary’s, if you’re going to an Irish party, it’s good to have your very Irish gang.
“Ballina is a town in County Mayo, Ireland that the city Scranton twinned up with so when parade time comes and Saint Patrick’s Day we get many of the town’s people to come here,” said Gene Hickey of Scranton.
“1991 we started to come to Scranton, my husband and I, so we’re coming back ever since, can’t miss it, it’s wonderful,” said Peg Downey of Ballina.
Ale Mary’s is a brand new bar, taking over the former Whistles Pub location on Franklin Avenue.
The owner said being ready for Saint Pat’s was a must.
“That was our deadline, we had to be open for parade day and this is a great way to get as many people in here, say hey, here we are,” said John Brazil.
Two longtime friends were checking in for the weekend at the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel.
One came in from Harrisburg, the other from Arizona.
“First time I’ve been here, I can’t wait, I’ve heard a lot about it, a lot of good things and looking forward to it,” said Paul Murphy who made the cross country trek. “It has to be good to bring someone from Scotsdale, Arizona out here.”
Across the street at Kildare’s, the dinner hour was packed as folks grabbed some Irish grub.
One family came in from New Jersey to visit their daughter, a student at the University of Scranton.
“She’s a junior now so we were like, we got to go to a Scranton parade one of these years, and I play bagpipes and I march at home, and I said we got to get up here and see this parade, so here we are,” said Steve Stys.
Businesses in the downtown welcome the economic boost, especially this year.
Many said the brutal winter kept most people home, but this parade day is a sign spring is finally here.
“We think there’s an awful lot of cabin fever with the temperatures we’ve had, a lot of people were hesitant to come out. I think it’s just going to come with a fury tomorrow, weather’s going to be fantastic,” said Michael Kearny, the general manager of the Radisson.