If there’s one thing Healdsburg residents agree on, it’s that there are only two parades worth attending year-in and year-out. One is the late-May Twilight Parade that kicks off the Future Farmers fair.
The other is the pre-dawn parade around the Plaza, every St. Patrick’s Day since time immemorial. Or the early 1990s, at any rate. It used to originate at the B&B Lounge, where John and Zeke’s now stands (420 Healdsburg Ave.). The tradition began there one St. Patrick’s morn, possibly by design, but more likely out of spontaneous celebration.
Hundreds of parade goers will show up early Friday morning to carry on the tradition, for its 30th year. Attendees are encouraged to dress in festive attire and get in the spirit of the “biggest shortest parade in the world.”
The procession will start at Sanderson Ford (435 Healdsburg Ave.) at 7am and dance and jig down Healdsburg Avenue, around Plaza Park, and back to the parade start.
Spoiler alert: Green hair, enthusiastic greetings, lusty if tuneless renditions of “Auld Lang Syne” and the ready availability of Irish coffee can be expected. And possibly bagpipes and leprechauns.
After a brief period of recovery, the party continues at the Healdsburg Plaza at 10:30 the same morning, courtesy of the Community Services Department and Healdsburg Kiwanis Club. The festive and free event will feature live music by the Tempest, a high-energy Celtic rock band from the Bay Area, as well as two performances by the West Shiloh Step Dancers.
Not all the action will be on the Gazebo stage. There will be Gaelic games with prizes, Irish storytelling, face painting and fairy-building kits for children across the Plaza grounds, as well as free “lucky charm” popcorn, Irish green bagels with cream cheese and green apple juice.
This is a chance to put on green and celebrate the best of Irish art and culture in Healdsburg, where everyone is an HIP (Honorary Irish Person) on St. Patrick’s Day.