Norfolk St. Patrick’s Day Parade to return for first time since pandemic — weather permitting
If the luck of the Irish kicks in this Saturday, the Norfolk St. Patrick’s Day Parade will turn Granby Street green for the first time since before the pandemic.
The National Weather Service forecast calls for a 51% chance of rain during the time of the parade — 10 a.m. to noon — though the highest chance of rain is from 1 a.m. to 8 a.m. when it reaches 61%. The rain is expected to be light to moderate in the morning, according to NWS meteorologist Sam Wray.
The rain chance will drop to below 30% by 1 p.m. The parade’s website notes that the parade generally will go on in “light rain.”
“The rain is associated with a cold front so it should not be misty rain, it should be pretty solid rain, but nothing too heavy,” Wray said. “It should be in and out pretty quick.”
The parade was among the first major events to be canceled at the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. It was called off due to COVID-19 again in 2021 and was scratched because of bad weather last year.
Representatives with Norfolk Parade Inc., the main operator of the event, could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
The procession, should it go on as planned, will cause significant traffic disruptions in the Ocean View area. The roughly 1.5-mile parade begins at Northside Middle School at 10 a.m. and heads north along Granby Street, turns left onto A View Avenue and ends at the Columbian Club of Ocean View at 211 W. Government Ave. at noon — where there will be a free after-party.
The after-party will offer live music, food vendors and refreshments. The bands performing will be Wonderland, playing indoors, and the Savannah Band outdoors.
Norfolk police will close Granby Street from Bayview Boulevard to Bay Street beginning at 7:30 a.m., and the remaining portions of the parade route will shut down around 9:15 a.m. All roads will reopen by 1 p.m., according to Norfolk spokesperson Chris Jones.
Street parking is available along most of the adjacent blocks along the parade route beginning Thursday afternoon, Jones said. Off-street parking is available at Sarah Constant Beach Park, Ocean View Beach Park, Ocean View Elementary, Northside Park, Oceanair Elementary, Willoughby Elementary, Ocean View Senior Center and Community Beach Park.
Jones warned that attendees should be mindful of “no parking” and “no parking on grass” signs because police will tow cars parked illegally along the route. Parking is not permitted at Pretlow Library.
The parade began in 1967, born out of a conversation between members of the Knights of Columbus Father Kealey Council 3548 at the bar in their headquarters. Since the first parade, which involved a handful of council members carrying trash-can lids and brooms, the event has grown to draw thousands each year.
Gavin Stone, 757-712-4806, email@example.com