The Big Night Before the Big Day

SCRANTON, Pa. -- It's one of the biggest one-day events in northeastern and central Pennsylvania: the annual St. Patrick's Parade in Scranton.

This is the 58th year for the march that draws tens of thousands of revelers to the Electric City.

The parade is set to step off at 11:45 a.m. Saturday, but many of the bars will be open as early as 9 a.m. For some, the party got underway the night before.

For establishments downtown, Parade Day is much more than merely a celebration of Irish heritage.

Even Lackawanna County's Anthracite Heritage Museum got in on the fun for Parade Day Eve. Irish music filled the museum as people enjoyed food and drinks.

Across town from the museum, the annual gathering of the Quiet Man Society filled The Dugout bar in south Scranton.

The society dates back to the 1980s when some friends decided they would return every year for the St. Patrick's Parade. Every year, they gather on the night before the parade to honor members of the community.

This year, Paul Hart and Lackawanna County Judge Julia Munley were named Man and Woman of the Year.

"We joke that this is the beginning of the High Holy Days. It starts with Parade Day and it ends with St. Patrick's Day, which this year is a week from Sunday, so it's a long celebration," Hart laughed.

The day proves to be quite a profitable celebration for many of Scranton's downtown establishments.

At Levels, head bartender Ashley Levandoski showed us around one of the coolers filled to the brim with hundreds and hundreds of cases of beer, and that wasn't even all of it.

"Beer-wise, we probably have over 500 cases in this cooler alone. Then we still have another cooler downstairs that's full, and liquor-wise? A lot," Levandoski said.

One interesting new tradition for Parade Day this year will be at Ale Mary's bar on Franklin Avenue.

Ale Mary's isn't going to open at all on Saturday. One worker tells us Parade Day may be lucrative, but it's also hectic and leaves behind quite a mess. Instead, Ale Mary's will open Sunday for a full-day post-parade brunch.

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