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Carbondale Hosting Lighted St. Patrick’s Parade

CARBONDALE -- It only took 185 years, but Carbondale is bringing back a St. Patrick's celebration.

The city in Lackawanna County is hosting its first St. Patrick's Parade since 1833.

The Scranton St. Patrick's Parade draws tens of thousands of people to the city's downtown on the weekend before St. Patrick's Day.

A downtown to its north also hopes to attract crowds for a celebration of Irish heritage. The night before Scranton's parade, Carbondale will host a lighted St. Patrick's Parade.

"I think that it will be really fun for the whole community. Especially being a lighted parade the night before Scranton's St. Patrick's Day Parade. I guess we kind of pregame for the St. Patrick's Parade in Scranton," said Carbondale Chamber of Commerce President John Gorel.

Gorel said the idea came after the success of Carbondale's lighted Christmas Parade.

This time there will be a lot more green.

"Come to Carbondale on Friday night, they can come up here, be in the parade. We have a lot of businesses open on Friday night, restaurants and bars that they can go to. The next day they can go down to Scranton," added organizer Michele Bannon.

While Scranton may be famous for it, Carbondale was first.

Dr. Silas Powell of the Carbondale Historical Society said the first St. Patrick's Parade in Lackawanna County was held in The Pioneer City back in 1833.

"Carbondale has a very strong contingent of folks from Ireland in Carbondale, we've had that from the beginning of the railroading industry. So, it was not anybody's surprise that we would have a St. Patrick's Day Parade that early in the history of the county," Dr. Powell said.

According to historical records, it snowed three feet during that first St. Patrick's Day Parade held on March 17, 1833.

That could be why the tradition never took off. But, the organizers in 2018 hope after a 185-year hiatus, the parade will return.

"People forget very quickly their roots and where they came from. And to celebrate the ethnicity of a group of people who were very important in the early history of Carbondale is really a major event in the 21st century," Dr. Powell added.

The Carbondale Lighted St. Patrick's Parade steps off Friday, March 9 at 7:00 p.m. on Main Street.