BILLINGS – St. Patrick’s Day is Sunday, but many came out Saturday to celebrate a nearly 40-year tradition in Billings.
The Billings Police and Marine Corps League led the parade down 3rd Avenue North and 2nd Avenue North.
The Senior High School Drum Corps, the Lockwood Schools band and Caledonian Pipes and Drums were among the musicians in the procession.
Close to 50 groups participated in the parade.
The parade is traditionally held on the Saturday closest to St. Patrick’s Day.
About 3,000 came out for the Parade and Celtic Fair.
“The hope of spring,” Lindsay Richardson, Downtown Billings Alliance events coordinator said about the turnout. “I think we’re all feeling lucky today that there are no more sub-zero temperatures.”
Pug Mahon’s which was on 1st Avenue North was a place to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
It closed in January after its owner Bill “Mac” MacIntyre died.
“We’re doing a lot of tribute to Pub Mahon’s because this is the first year that Pub Mahon’s isn’t available,” Richardson said.
Richardson said the parade and Celtic fair have traditionally been the first of the event season for the Downtown Billings Alliance.
“The Celtic Fair, it’s a street party too,” she said. “We really want people to enjoy the streets of downtown, the merchants of downtown, we really want people to feel this as their home.”