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March 14, 2018 07:01 AM

39th Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade Kicks Off Saturday

Sioux Falls

One of Downtown Sioux Falls' most iconic parades is hitting the streets on Saturday. The 39th annual St. Patrick's Day Parade will travel through the streets of Downtown Sioux Falls.

The parade is a joint effort between the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce and 15 active volunteers that organize the extravaganza.

Flashback to March 17, 1998: That was Mike Kelly's volunteering debut at the St. Patrick's Day Parade in Sioux Falls. 

"I think they recognize me and say, 'He's here again?'" Kelly said. 

And that he is. Twenty years later, Kelly is organizing the Irish festivities with the help of the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. 

"It takes a whole tribe to make this parade work. And I'm just one of the pieces in it," Kelly said. 

Valerie Willson, membership events manager at the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce has been working with volunteers since December to get ready for Saturday. 

"Without them, I don't know if this would even be happening," says Willson. 

Kelly along with the volunteers are responsible for organizing the staging area, float entrants and even welcoming bagpipers from Winnepeg.  

"In reality, it is almost a full-time position to do it because you have to work with the registration, you have to communicate with people about what time to line up, and what area in the staging area," Willson said. 

Kelly says no matter if you're Irish or not, there's a reason this parade comes back year after year. 

"It's a good way for the people to enjoy downtown Sioux Falls, enjoy the community of Sioux Falls," Kelly said. 
Float participation this year is at a record-high: nearly 100 are registered for Saturday's parade. 

The parade will kick off at 2 p.m. Saturday at 13th Street and will head north towards 4th Street along Phillips Avenue. Those participating in the parade must enter the staging area from 11th Street on Dakota and Main avenues.

New this year, parade participants require prior registration by March 10 to enter a float into the event.

For more information about the parade, visit the Sioux Falls Area Chamber of Commerce website.

Parking And Road Closures

Several parking ramps as well as on-street parking will be available in downtown Sioux Falls. For more information about parking, visit the city's website. Parade organizers will be offering ADA parking at the corner of 8th Street and Phillips Avenue.

All major east-west streets from 13th Street north to 4th Street in downtown will be closed near Phillips Avenue starting at 1:30 p.m. Saturday. The closures will also include both 10th and 11th streets. Traffic will open on 14th Street during the parade.

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