March 7, 2012
•Brentwood's Jim Green Named 2012 Grand Marshal;
•Our Lady of Sacred Heart High School's Mary Kate Gallagher Named Miss Smiling Irish Eyes Queen 2012;
•Three Drop Off Sites Designated for Pittsburgh Area Food Bank Donations;
•Second Year for Irish Fair in the Square;
•Clearview Federal Credit Union, River City Brass, and Ford Motor Co. Parade Sponsors.
Pittsburgh, PA, March 7, 2012 – Pittsburgh's annual St. Patrick's Day Parade will take place on Saturday, March 17, 2012, with the same parade route it's followed the past two years, featuring over 23,000 participants from Pittsburgh-area marching bands, politicians, and a host of Irish-heritage groups. The event begins at 10 a.m., with the route stretching from the intersection of Liberty Avenue and 11 th Street (Greyhound Bus Station), to the review stand located Downtown on the Boulevard of the Allies at Stanwix Street.
The parade has enjoyed a 142-year history in the city, having occurred non-stop since 1950. Many Pittsburghers remember that not even a blizzard in 1993 was able to keep Pittsburgh's Irish from marching on. According to U.S. Census data, more Pittsburghers claim Irish heritage than any other ethnic group in a region known as a “melting pot” of ethnicity.
Event officials have said that Pittsburgh's is the second-largest St. Patrick's Day Parade in the United States, behind New York City.
The 2012 St. Patrick's Day Parade will feature nearly 200 marching units, including 18 bands, floats, several police, fire and emergency service agencies, along with many groups from Pittsburgh's Irish and other ethnic communities. The highlight of the parade is the appearance of Pittsburgh's Miss Smiling Irish Eyes 2012, and St. Patrick himself.
Safety, security and a family-friendly atmosphere are central to the mission of the parade committee. Pittsburgh Police officers, firefighters and paramedics will be on hand during the festivities to ensure a safe and fun environment. The City of Pittsburgh now has a statute against consumption of alcoholic beverages in public spaces, which will be enforced as it has in years' past. Parade committee rules strictly prohibit consumption of alcoholic beverages for those marching in the parade.
The St. Patrick's Day Parade is the highlight of an entire week of Irish-heritage events in and around Pittsburgh, featuring area artists, musicians and community groups. In addition to being a celebration of great significance to those with Celtic roots, parade organizers suggest that the parade be a catalyst for all Pittsburgh to explore Irish heritage, culture, entertainment and cuisine throughout the year.
The Parade Route
The 2012 parade will begin at the Greyhound Bus Station at the intersection of Liberty Avenue and 11 th Street. Staging will take place from the bus station and away from Downtown to 28 th street. The parade will proceed from the intersection of Liberty and Grant Streets on Grant to the Boulevard of the Allies, where it will turn right. Proceed on the Boulevard of the Allies to the end of the parade route at Commonwealth Place and disburse.
2012 St. Patrick's Parade Grand Marshal
The Grand Marshal of the 2012 Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade is past Parade Chairman Jim Green of Brentwood. A Pittsburgh-native, he graduated from St. Justin High School in 1973. He then volunteered to join the Navy at age 17. He married his high school sweetheart Lynn in 1976 while stationed with the Navy in California. With an honorable discharge and thanks to the GI Bill, Jim returned to Pittsburgh and pursued his education.
He began his career in data processing Electronic Data Systems. Jim has been a Senior Systems Consultant with PNC for 18 years. He and Lynn have now been married for 35 years. They have two married children – Jim and Kelly. Kelly and her husband Tim, have a son, four-year old George Timothy III, who will march in this year's parade with his grandfather.
When Jim was around 30 years old, and was missing his dearly departed Irish grandfather, Tom O'Toole, he began searching for his Irish roots, and he and his family began celebrating the St. Patrick's Day holiday, ending the evening with a grand family toast to their Irish ancestors.
That led him to joining Division 1 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians in 1991. Then, following the world famous “Blizzard of ‘93”, he joined the St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee and volunteered to serve as a Parade Day Marshal. When the Chief Marshal retired, he took that position. He was later named Parade Chairman by the Directors of the Irish Society for Education and Charity – which is the parent organization for the Parade Committee. He served in that position for 5 years before stepping down after last year's Parade, serving a total of 18 years.
While working on the Parade Committee over the years, he also served in various positions of the AOH, including Allegheny County Board Treasurer, and Vice President, then on the State level as Vice President then State President. He was elected to the position that he coveted the most last May, and now serves as Allegheny County President.
Miss Smiling Irish Eyes Queen for 2012
Miss Smiling Irish Eyes Queen for 2012 is Mary Kate Gallagher. She is the daughter of Michael and Marlea Gallagher of McKees Rocks, Pennsylvania. Mary Kate is a senior at Our Lady of Sacred Heart High School in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, where she is an Honor Roll student. She has lettered in Volleyball, Cheerleading and is Team Captain of her school's Track & Field Team.
The youngest of four children, she plans on attending Seton Hill College in the Fall.
In her community, she is active with: the Pittsburgh Reelers, an Irish step dancing group. She recently was part of the March For Life in Washington D.C. She has volunteered for the “Empty Bowls Initiative” that aids the Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank. Mary Kate has also helped with fundraising activities for “Operation Safety Net,” and she has worked with the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians (LAOH) in helping to feed the homeless in weather below freezing. She plans on a mission trip this summer to Kingston, Jamaica, where she plans to work at Mustard Seed Communities. Mustard Seed provides a home for abandoned and disabled children and children who are HIV positive. Mary Kate has been an altar server for the past 10 years at Holy Innocents Parish in Sheridan and has recently begun to serve as a Lector at mass
Miss Smiling Irish Eyes 2012 Court
Members of the Miss Smiling Irish Eyes 2012 Court are Shannon Evans and Laura Schubert.
Court maiden Shannon Marie Evans, the daughter of Paul and Julie Evans, is from the North Hills of Pittsburgh. She is a senior at North Hills High School, where she is an Honor Roll student and a member of the school's marching band.
Her volunteer efforts include membership in of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth Lay Mission Volunteer Group. As part this group Shannon travelled to Tennessee to help with removal of debris caused by tornado damage. In January of 2012 she travelled to Belize in Central America as part of a volunteer team from the U.S. to build a house. In one year, she logged 300 hours of volunteer service. She volunteers with Make A Wish, Angel's Place, the Greater Pittsburgh Area Food Bank, and the Jubilee Soup Kitchen to name a few. Shannon was the Recipient of the Presidential Volunteer Service Award Gold for 2011.
She told the Parade Committee that her first parade was the year of the St Patrick's Day Blizzard in 1993, and that she hasn't miss one since then.
In her community, Laura has been a member of the Pittsburgh Irish Reelers, and she has volunteered at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. She is a member of Holy Innocents Parish where she continues as an Altar Server and a regular volunteer at parish events.
The Irish Fair in the Square
For the second straight year, the Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee will host its “Irish Fair in the Square,” a fun-filled celebration in Market Square where many of the 100,000-plus St. Patrick's Day Parade-goers can gather in a family-friendly atmosphere during the Parade.
The Irish Fair in the Square will feature music from Celtic Shores, the Montour High School Drum Line, the River City Brass Band and River City Youth Brass, and the McDonald Pipe Band.
Activities will include members of the Pittsburgh Busker street performer group and face painting for the little leprechauns.
Due to the City of Pittsburgh's open container statutes and the Parade Committee's desire to foster this family-friendly event, starting at 10 a.m. and throughout the parade, adult beverages will only be available within private establishments and will not be a part of this official Parade event.
After the Parade, the Market Square Merchant's Association will host its own, more adult-oriented and very popular St. Patrick's Day Street Party that will continue throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
Food Bank Donations
Parade spectators will once again have the chance to enjoy a great Pittsburgh event while at the same time donate items to the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank. The Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) Hibernian Hunger Project, in cooperation with the parade committee, is sponsoring a “Food and Funds Drive” where parade-goers can drop off non-perishable food items or monetary donations at three points along the parade route:
- Greyhound Bus Station at the corner of 11 th Street and Liberty Avenue;
- City-County Building at 414 Grant Street;
- Steelworkers Plaza at 60 Blvd. of the Allies.