CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The weather is a concern for organizers of the Saint Patrick's Day parade.
It is one of the largest events all year in Cleveland. As many as 250 thousand people are expected downtown.
It hasn't been canceled in more than 40 years. Even with the snow and possible sleet expected on Friday afternoon, I hazard a guess, it's a big time go.
John O'Brien, Jr. is a member of the United Irish Society, which puts on the Cleveland St. Patrick's Day Parade.
"I want to quench that right now. The parade will rally tomorrow. We're looking forward to it. The only thing that would cancel the parade would be a blizzard, wind chill that's below normal, and snow. We've marched before in the snow and we'll do it again this year."
Murphy has been a part of the 175 year tradition since he was a little boy. He used to march in the Cleveland St. Patrick's Day Parade. Now he's part of the planning group that puts on one of the oldest and largest St. Patrick's Day Parades in the country. Talk of canceling is greatly exaggerated.
"In my career in the United Irish Society help run this parade, we've never canceled or postponed the parade. That's over 35 years. I think the last time we did it was 1973. I was a youngster back then and we had over 6 inches of snow downtown Cleveland and we had to postpone it. But, it won't happen this year."
That's not to say it won't be cold. Cleveland 19 News Meteorologist Jeff Tanchak is forecasting snow and sleet and 1-3 inches of snow during the parade. So bundle up. Pat's mom, Mary Angela Murphy will be honored as the Irish Mother of the Year in the 2017 parade.
"She raised eight children, eight grandchildren, some great-grandchildren. She's got a great Irish family and she deserves that honor. I'm very pleased for her."
A little more history about Cleveland's St. Patrick's day Parade.
"It wasn't canceled in '73. But, it was canceled in '76. So far as I know that's the only time it has been canceled. It was canceled one other times which I remember riding down to the parade to go and it was postponed, the disappointment."
The 175th St. Patrick's Day Parade in Cleveland kicks off at 1:04 P.M. sharp following the U. S. and Irish National Anthems. Over ten thousand people will take part in the parade and hundreds of thousands are expected to show their Irish pride and crowd along the parade route which begins at East 18th and Superior and ends at on the northside newly renovated Public Square in the heart of downtown.