The Long Beach Irish Heritage Parade and Festival is a local tradition featuring a continuous motion parade and festival with over 50 parade entries including Firefighter displays, marching bands, dancing groups, youth groups, local businesses, floats, and more, all ending with a festival highlighting local music, food and drink.
The parade runs down Pine Avenue from 6th Street to Broadway in beautiful downtown Long Beach,Calif. The first entry steps off at 2pm with the final entry making their way to the post-parade festival about 3:00pm. Of course the festivities don’t end there! The parade ends at Promenade Park between Broadway and 1st street on the Promenade for the Irish Heritage Festival with live Irish music, food, beer garden and vendors. Firefighters, Police, and Irish heritage groups from all over Southern California will be participating so join us for a fun filled day to celebrate our heritage!
While visiting downtown Long Beach you can enjoy award winning, world class restaurants, breweries, bars and unique shopping. Downtown Long Beach is easily accessible by bike, train and bus with free parking at the City Place parking structures
The 2016 Long Beach Irish Heritage Parade and Festival on March 12th, is produced by Party On Pine with support from Long Beach Fire Association local 372, Downtown Long Beach Associates & Long Beach Independent.
We have a spectacular parade and festival planned so join the festivities as a participant or spectator!
– Mimi Masher, Parade Chairman
Irish Heritage with Firefighters
Following the great potato famine in Ireland during the 18th century many Irish immigrated to the United States of America, bringing their traditions with them. Work for these immigrants was often very difficult to find. Factories and shops displayed signs reading “NINA” meaning No Irish Need Apply. The only jobs they could get were the civil service jobs that were dirty, dangerous or both — firefighters and police officers — jobs that no one else wanted. Both of these careers were considered undesirable due to low pay, few benefits, and poor working conditions. The Irish gladly accepted these careers, and it was a way to give back to their new country.
The Irish transformed the job of night watchman and fire watch into the organized fire departments we see today. Gradually, the Irish started many of the traditions that are still in existence today. The Irish-American firefighters would march in full uniform at various parades across the United States, including the St. Patrick’s Day parade. They were very proud of their Irish heritage, and equally proud of being a firefighter.
Now being a firefighter is a badge of honor and respect. Today, firefighters continue to march in parades in full dress uniform to show their pride as part of this great country and serve as positive role models to the next generation of all nationalities.
Saint Patrick, who lived during the fifth century, is the patron saint and national apostle of Ireland. Born in Roman Britain, he was kidnapped and brought to Ireland as a slave at the age of 16. He later escaped, but returned to Ireland and was credited with bringing Christianity to its people. In the centuries following Patrick’s death (believed to have been on March 17, 461), the mythology surrounding his life became ever more ingrained in the Irish culture: Perhaps the most well known legend is that he explained the Holy Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) using the three leaves of a native Irish clover, the shamrock.
Since around the ninth or 10th century, people in Ireland have been observing the Roman Catholic feast day of St. Patrick on March 17. Interestingly, however, the first parade held to honor St. Patrick’s Day took place not in Ireland but in the United States. On March 17, 1762, Irish soldiers serving in the English military marched through New York City. Along with their music, the parade helped the soldiers reconnect with their Irish roots, as well as with fellow Irishmen serving in the English army.