43rd Abington St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday

After last year’s successful return of the Abington St. Patrick’s Day Parade, someone said to organizer Jack Bailey that it was the best parade ever and couldn’t be topped.

“He said, ‘You might equal it, but you can’t beat it,'” Bailey recalled. “I said, ‘That sounds like a challenge to me.’” 

So the 2023 edition is even bigger, with a number of first-time participants, and a handful of groups returning after a few years off, on top of regular parade attractions, such as St. Patrick himself. 

“It will be a little bit bigger than last year by the numbers,” Bailey said. “We have a number of different things that will entertain different people.” 

A drum and pipe band in the 2022 Abington St. Patrick’s Day parade

The 43rd Annual Abington St. Patrick’s Day Parade will step off this Sunday at 1 p.m., starting in St. Patrick’s Square (Abington Center). The parade will march down Washington Street, bear right onto Adams Street, and finish along North Avenue in North Abington Center. 

The parade route and side streets near the route will start being shut down around Noon.

This year’s Grand Marshall is Fred Villa, the owner of Martin’s Restaurant. 

“Fred does an awful lot behind the scenes for different people and different groups without any acknowledgment that it’s him,” Bailey said. 

Villa last year started hosting a monthly free breakfast for veterans that has become increasingly popular. 

Bailey said crowds along the route are asked to remain on the sidewalk, particularly as floats and trucks pass by tossing out candy. In recent years crowds have started encroaching in the parade route, particularly in St. Patrick’s Square, making it difficult for some trucks to safely advance forward.  

“We need everyone to stand back away from moving vehicles,” Bailey said. “The drivers can not watch all four sides.”

The parade will feature four divisions and 80 groups, including 13 bands. 

Marylou’s, Blackbeard, Abington Celebrates, J.P. Ryan’s, Rockland Eagles, Sarcastic Swine,and the Waltham Legion Band are once again marching. Gouthro Plumbing is returning after a couple years off, as is Barrett’s Haunted House and Seaone’s Landscaping, Bailey said. Lucky 777 Bar & Grille, Hutcheon’s Florist, Williams Energy, the Brockton Bruisers Roller Derby team, and Anderson Landscaping are all first-time attendees. 

St. Patrick makes his way through St. Patrick Square during the 2022 parade

The parade will also feature the debut of the new Abington High School Marching Band uniforms.

Sunday’s forecast calls for partly sunny weather with highs in the low 40s. 

Bailey and St. Patrick have made the trip from Abington Center to North Abington Center every year since 1980. During the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021, Bailey made the trip as part of a small procession featuring friends and family.

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