Go green: What to know before you go to Naples St. Patrick's Day … – Naples Daily News

If you’re heading to downtown Naples for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 11, here’s a few things to know before you go:
The parade is among the biggest events in Naples, with thousands lined up more than three rows deep, especially along the Fifth Avenue South part of the route.
Streets will be blocked off early surrounding the route, which is: North up Third Street South from St. Ann Catholic Church, east on Fifth Avenue South, and south on Eighth Street South in front of City Hall. Road closures will be 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Fifth Avenue South and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. along Third Street South.
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The parade starts at 11 a.m. Saturday. From personal experience, head downtown eary because crowds start to form before 9 a.m. to score the best viewing spots. Generally, Third Street South (where the parade begins) and Eighth Street South (where it ends) offer better chances for good spots because Fifth Avenue South will be packed.
The Third Street South Farmers Market also says this week’s market is canceled because of the parade but resumes Saturday, March 18.
Lou Holtz will serve as the 2023 Grand Marshal.
He coached the University of Notre Dame football team from 1986-1996. His 1988 Fighiting Irish team also went 12-0 to win the school’s last national championship and he’s the third winningest coach in Notre Dame history at 100 wins.
Holtz, now 86, was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. That same year, Holtz was the keynote speaker at the Winged Foot Scholar Athlete Award dinner at the Naples Grande Resort and Club (now called Naples Grande Beach Resort) on Seagate Drive.
For those who’ve never attended, you’ll find it’s one of the more impressive St. Patrick’s Day parades in the Southeast. And the Naples St. Patrick’s Day Parade is the largest south of Savannah, Georgia.
The first Naples St. Patrick’s parade was in 1976 a priest at St. Ann’s Catholic Church and parishioners marched around the church grounds to celebrate, said the event’s website, naplesparade.com.
A few months later, a group met to formalize a parade that would march through city streets.
Decades have not diminished the excitement surrounding the event. Parade participants will toss green bead necklaces to people in the crowd screaming for them, so be careful reaching out to grab one and not hurt anyone.
​Parking garages available are at Eighth Street South and Sixth Avenue South and at Eighth Street South and Fourth Avenue South. And the city urges, if you decide to park along curb, make sure it’s a valid space.
Chicago has the honor of hosting the biggest St. Patrick’s Day parade in the U.S. It’s estimated to attract some 2 million visitors every year and is one of the longer-running St. Patrick’s Day parades, with the first one in 1858.
And the Windy City famously colors the Chicago River green every year for the day celebrating Irish heritage.
The next largest St. Patrick’s parades in order are New York City; Savannah, Georgia; Philadelphia; San Antonio, Texas; New Orleans; Boston; and Atlanta, according to the website theirishroadtrip.com.
Dave Osborn is the regional features editor of the Naples Daily News and News-Press. Follow him on Instagram @lacrossewriter and on Twitter @NDN_dosborn.


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