Wilkes-Barre shows its Irish side with annual St. Patrick’s Day parade

i Mar 12th 2018

By Kulsoom Khan, Wilkes-Barre Times Leader

WILKES-BARRE —A sea of green could be seen along South Main Street, Public Square and North Main Street on Sunday afternoon.

Families, children, adults and senior citizens gathered in downtown Wilkes-Barre in anticipation for the city’s annual St. Patrick’s Day parade.

Ann Marie Scinal, of Plains Township, had attended the parade before, but her husband and children had never attended until this year. Scindal is of Irish descent, but her husband, Paul Sabol is not.

“We’re blended,” he said with a laugh. Despite not having a strong connection with St. Patrick’s Day and Irish culture like his wife, Sabol came to have a good time.

“It’s great for the kids to get out and enjoy themselves,” he said.

Felicia Anulavich, of West Pittston, describes herself as “maybe 5 percent Irish.” Nonetheless, she attends the parade every year and used to bring her children when they were younger.

“You just get excited over a parade,” she said, sitting on the sidewalk waiting for the event to start. “It’s fun.

“It’s festive. Springtime is coming.”

Sisters Suzanne O’Gorman and Jamie O’Gorman, of Forty Fort, came to watch the parade with Jamie’s two daughters.

Both are proud of their Irish heritage, which they received from their father’s side of the family. Suzanne dresses head-to-toe in St. Patrick’s Day gear every year for both the Wilkes-Barre and Scranton parade.

“Every year, the leggings get different,” she said, referring to her black shamrock-printed leggings which she paired with a green sweatshirt and a green headband with shamrocks attached to it. “Every year, we get creative.”

The O’Gormans get most excited about the music at the parade.

“We all love the bagpipers and the step dancers,” said Suzanne.

Jamie’s daughter, Amy who will be turning 6 years old soon, is learning traditional Irish step dance with her friends at school.

“Do you like how fast you move?” Jamie asked. Amy answered back, saying that she does indeed like the fast movements, the jumps and the music that comes with learning the dance.

Music and dance became the highlight of the parade, especially the bagpipers and drummers dressed in traditional Irish attire, including a combination of blue, red, and green plaid kilts. Among the many groups that participated were the local Wyoming Valley Pipe and Drum Band and the Ceol Mor Pipe and Drum Band as well as the Edward R. Maloney Memorial Pipe Band of Binghamton, N.Y.

Students from the David Blight School of Dance, located on South Main Street in Wilkes-Barre, performed a choreographed step dance routine while making their down the procession.

The Times Leader was a corporate sponsor of the parade.