St. Patrick’s Day comes early in Binghamton

File photo Binghamton’s Parade Day procession travels down Court Street in March 2008. This year’s 45th annual parade has been scheduled for Saturday to avoid conflict with the New York City parade.

Binghamton’s going green this Saturday, March 3, as local residents and students celebrate Binghamton’s 45th annual St. Patrick’s Parade Day — festivities that come two weeks earlier than the date of the holiday to avoid conflict with the New York City parade.

This premature date ensures that pipe and marching bands from Philadelphia and New York City are able to perform.

Binghamton’s own Saint Patty’s Day will begin with a mass at 11:30 a.m. at St. Mary’s church, followed by a celebratory parade Downtown at 1:30 p.m. The parade begins at Court Street by St. Mary’s and ends on Main Street near the Belmar Pub.

File photo Bagpipers play on Parade Day in March 2008. This year’s parade is scheduled to take place Saturday.

Binghamton Mayor Matt Ryan told Pipe Dream that more than 50,000 students and locals have come out to celebrate in years past. Due to the large concentration of young drinkers, rowdy behavior often takes place, according to Ryan.

“We take precautions to try to keep it under control,” Ryan said. “Some areas are blocked off, such as the area by Fitzies Pub and State Street. We try to set rules. This is a time when college kids and families can celebrate.”

Ryan said that Parade Day allows locals and students to celebrate their heritage as a community.

“Parade Day represents the spirit of camaraderie and celebration,” Ryan said. “It’s a time of year for people to celebrate that they are Irish, or wish that they were Irish.”

Many Binghamton University students are planning to celebrate with friends and revel in Irish heritage, regardless of their nationality. While each person has his or her own plans for Parade Day, for many students, the agenda consists of an early breakfast followed by a long day of drinking.

Brittany Carr, a senior majoring in human development, said she and her friends make a St. Patrick’s Day themed-breakfast, consisting of green pancakes and Bailey’s Irish Cream.

Others said they plan to spend the day with members of their sports teams, clubs, fraternities or sororities.

“I am spending the day with the fabulous brothers of my fraternity, Tau Epsilon Phi,” said Gregory Stein, a sophomore majoring in economics. “This will be a day to create memories with my best friends.”

Dervla Kumar, a junior majoring in geology, said Parade Day is a fun event that brings together students, alumni and locals to celebrate.

“I think Parade Day is one of the biggest events celebrated by all the students on campus,” Kumar said. “Even the alumni and my friends who don’t go to BU come back for this day to celebrate.”

Students are also aware of the uproar surrounding pre-St. Patty’s Day celebration.

“Last year, I remember drunk people screaming and singing on the bus,” said Schuchanna Adlam, a senior majoring in human development. “I couldn’t even get to my [dance] practice.”

Bryce Edmister, an undeclared sophomore, said he appreciates the atmosphere.

“We all wear green, obviously, but the whole day is about hanging out with good friends and just enjoying everyone’s madness,” Edmister said.

According to Mayor Ryan, there is a “post-parade party” to continue the celebration from 1:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Seton Catholic Central High School on 72 Seminary Ave. that will include a performance from the marching band.

Other Downtown venues have also planned Parade Day celebrations. Tranquil is hosting a Parade Day Block Party from noon to 10 p.m. on Pine Street and the Endicott Emerald Society is hosting a celebratory party at Terra Cotta on State Street.

Those celebrating Parade Day for the first time said they are excited to experience all the festivities that everyone has been talking about.

“When I first came to Binghamton, Parade Day was one of the first things everyone told me about,” said Jordana Urman, an undeclared freshman. “I can’t imagine celebrating St. Patrick’s Day from daylight to sundown.”