St. Patrick’s Day Parade set for Saturday

Naples Mayor Bill Barnett waves to the crowd in the 33rd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, March 12, 2011, in Naples. Several thousand people turned out for the two-hour-long parade along Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South. David Albers/Staff

Photo by DAVID ALBERS // Buy this photo

Naples Mayor Bill Barnett waves to the crowd in the 33rd annual St. Patrick's Day Parade on Saturday, March 12, 2011, in Naples. Several thousand people turned out for the two-hour-long parade along Third Street South and Fifth Avenue South. David Albers/Staff

— Call it luck. The 34th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Naples will be held on St. Patrick’s Day this year. The annual parade usually is held on the Saturday nearest March 17; this year, of course, March 17 falls on Saturday.

The parade, which starts at 11 a.m., is Naples largest. Nearly 40,000 come to the parade each year to celebrate Irish heritage and culture.

The parade will follow its traditional Old Naples route, beginning at St. Ann Catholic Church on the corner of Third Street South and Ninth Avenue South, travel north on Third Street South, turn onto Fifth Avenue South, travel down Eighth Street South, and end at Crayton Cove.

Nine high school marching bands from Collier and Lee counties will perform, marking the first year that the 350-member Gulf Coast High School Marching Band will participate. Other high school marching bands include Barron Collier, Lely, Naples, Golden Gate, Immokalee, East Lee County, Dunbar and South Fort Myers.

The parade also will feature pipe bands, Irish step dancers, high school marching bands, clowns, stilt walkers and floats from all over.

Colleen O’Sullivan Kvetko, president and CEO of Shamrock Bank of Florida, will be the parade's grand marshal, and  this year’s Little Miss Smiling Irish Eyes is  Emily Jodi Oplt, a third grader at The Village School of Naples.

For more information, go to stpatricksparadenaples.com.

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