ARKON, Ohio — Get your green on and bundle up!
The good news is the Akron St. Patrick's Day Parade is back after a two-year hiatus. The bad news is Mother Nature didn't get the memo to cooperate.
"We're Irish tough. We're gonna have the parade," said Ed Morrison, the chairman of the parade.
A few inches of snow may have to be cleared from Main Street and the windchill temperatures could be in the teens when the parade steps off at noon on Saturday.
Participants will stage in the parking lot of Spaghetti Warehouse and will head north on Main Street before finishing near Lock 3.
Despite the chilly weather, Morrison expects 3,000 to 5,000 spectators will watch about 60 units in the parade, including Irish dancers, bands, floats, drill teams, color guards, school groups and other organizations.
Morrison is keeping his Irish sense of humor regarding the weather conditions.
"Bundle up. Because of COVID, no politicians are allowed to kiss babies," he joked.
The pandemic forced the cancellation of the parade both in 2020 and 2021. Morrison said calling off the traditional event twice was frustrating because it takes a lot of planning by a committee each year.
"It was a pain in the neck. I could use other words, but it was a challenge. People were disappointed, and I think we've lost some participants," he said.
Teresa Buck, owner of MacConmara Academy, said her Irish dancers are excited to return.
"We are so glad to have it. The last few years I've had kids crying that we weren't going to the parade. This is truly one of their favorite things," Buck said.
Buck said about 50 dancers signed up for the parade, but she expects some of them will cancel their plans to take part because of the weather.
Regardless, Buck said her dancers are passionate about their strenuous and time-consuming sport, and they're looking forward to a day full of fun.
"St. Patrick's Day and parade day are very meaningful to us because we get to spread our love of the Irish culture," she said. "It's our time to shine."