This has been a particularly dark and cold winter season for Pittsburgh. Not the worst we’ve seen but just enough inclement weather to put a damper on any plans to do anything outdoors but ski or sled ride.
These past few months, the Pittsburgh St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee has been working to put together yet another edition of the annual rite of Spring in Western Pennsylvania. The parade drew 350,000 spectators last year on a warm, sunny day. Twenty-three thousand participants marched, waved, danced, played and strutted their way down Grant Street and the Boulevard of the Allies in Pittsburgh.
Even on a cold and wet day, the parade usually attracts over 200,000 undeterred people, “Irish for a day,” who come out to say goodbye to winter and hello to the warmer months ahead.
My job on the Committee is to handle the PR, which includes social media and some marketing activities. It’s an interesting process on a number of levels. For me, it’s a fun PR activity, a way to stay connected to my Irish heritage, and throughout the process a way to reconnect with old friends and make new ones.
The PR aspect of the event continues to amaze me. So many volunteers work collaboratively and independently to pull the parade off. As they work, they project a positive image of their organizations, and all together on parade day, social media, traditional media and just the masses come together to create a very positive happening.
If you’re in the neighborhood on March 16th, feel free to stop Downtown and join in the second-largest St. Patrick’s Day Parade in the country, following New York. You’ll leave with a smile on your face.