Downtown Roanoke prepares for St. Patrick's Day Parade

Event could draw a crowd of more than 15,000 people

By Taj Simmons - Reporter

ROANOKE, Va. - Downtown Roanoke will look a lot greener this weekend.

The St. Patrick's Day Parade and Shamrock Festival will wind through the center of the city Saturday morning. Downtown Roanoke Inc. expects more than 15,000 visitors for the festivities.

Some business owners along the parade route are already transforming their stores for the event. Pauline Wood has placed a table full of Kelly green collectibles for sale outside of her clothes store, Shades of Color.

"It's one of the biggest days for me, apart from the Christmas holiday season," Wood said. "I have actually been out here in two days of rain. That's how excited I am."

Downtown Roanoke Inc. has prepared for and organized the parade for months, but still had some last-minute tasks to do in the week leading up to the big day.

"During event week, we get all of our barriers put together, we finalize parade lineups, we finalize our vendor layout," Scott Arbogast of Downtown Roanoke Inc. said. "There's a lot of communication with the parade participants and the vendors just to make sure they know what times they can come down and set up. That's our final push to make sure everything is falling into place."

The Shamrock Festival begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday and the parade begins its march from Elm Avenue and Jefferson Street at 11 a.m. The route goes up Jefferson Street, and then turns on Campbell Avenue before ending at Campbell Avenue and Williamson Road. The festivities go until 5 p.m.

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