It's no surprise St. Patrick's Day is the most popular day of the year in Dogtown, St. Louis' Irish neighborhood. Every year, crowds gather along Tamm Avenue for the Ancient Order of Hibernians' parade. In 2013, the parade is on Sunday, March 17, at noon. St. Louis actually has two St. Patrick's Day parades, but many consider the Dogtown parade to be the real Irish celebration. Here's everything you need to know about this year's St. Patrick's Day parade in Dogtown.
About The Parade
The Ancient Order of Hibernians have been holding their parade on St. Patrick's Day in Dogtown for nearly 30 years. The parade kicks off with the AOH Irish War Pipers and the AOH Honor Guard. Keep in mind, this parade has more of a neighborhood feel similar to those held in Ireland. That means no giant floats or Scooby Doo balloons. There are plenty of Irish dancers and bands, but most of the parade is filled with members of the St. Louis Irish-American community marching as clans under their family crests. See Photos of past Dogtown Parades
The parade follows the same route each year at the intersection of Tamm Avenue and Oakland Avenue near Forest Park, traveling south on Tamm past Seamus McDaniels, then St. James the Greater Catholic Church and ending at Tamm and Manchester.
Where to Watch
You can watch the parade from anywhere along Tamm Avenue, but the biggest crowds gather at the intersection of Tamm and Clayton. The closer you are to this intersection, the more people you'll be dealing with. For a better view, line up somewhere between Seamus McDaniels and St. James the Greater Church. If you want to get away from the crowds as much as possible, go closer to Manchester and the end of the parade route.
After the Parade
There's plenty to do in Dogtown on St. Patrick's Day after the parade. You'll need the "luck of the Irish" to get into restaurants like Seamus McDaniels (1208 Tamm Ave.) or Pat's Bar & Grill (6400 Oakland Ave.), but Jacksons (6655 Manchester) and Colombo's Cafe (6487 Manchester), just south of Dogtown, are good bets if you want a little more space. For a quick bite to eat or a cold drink, you'll find food and beer booths set up along the parade route. Another good place is St. James the Greater Church, where parishoners serve corned beef and cabbage dinners at the school cafeteria. There are also Irish dancers, music and other entertainment all day at the church.
Where to Park
Like most city neighborhoods, Dogtown has limited parking to begin with and it can be nearly impossible to find a parking spot on St. Patrick's Day. Many parade-goers park at the various businesses along Manchester Avenue and walk up Tamm to the parade. Businesses ususally charge between $10 and $20 to park in their lots. Another option is to park at the South Lot for the St. Louis Zoo which costs $15. There is also free parking elsewhere in Forest Park, but choose your spot wisely because police will ticket anyone parked illegally.
Glass containers are banned from the parade area, so leave the beer bottles at home. Police will also be in the area looking for underage drinkers. Also keep in mind, spectators are not allowed to view the parade from the Tamm Avenue overpass above Highway 40. To ensure public safety, all restaurants and shops in Dogtown will close at 8 p.m. on St. Patrick's Day.