Floats being prepped for Sunday's parade in Holyoke

(Western Mass News photo)

The weather looks sunny for Sunday's St. Patrick's Parade in Holyoke.

As a result, organizers expect hundreds of thousands of people to line the parade route.

The annual event is a massive undertaking and with just a few days to go, the finally push is underway to tie up loose ends and get ready for show time.

The viewing stand in front of Holyoke city hall is up, the shamrocks freshly painted and the only thing the Holyoke St. Patrick's Parade Committee can't control, at this point, is the weather.

"It's been quite the challenge in the last couple of weeks with these snow storms," said Hayley Dunn with the Holyoke St. Patrick's Committee.

However, with chilly yet sunny weather in the forecast, Dunn told Western Mass News that she expects Saturday's annual road race and Sunday's parade to be, in her words, epic.

"We're expecting more than 20,000 spectators for the road race to be along the streets of Holyoke and a few hundred thousand people to be on the streets of Holyoke for the parade, we're very excited," Dunn explained.

This year marks the 67th year of the parade, with thousands of marchers and a few dozen floats.

One of them is the grand colleen float, which sits at Dean Technical High School in Holyoke, built largely by students here.

"Through the Dean carpenter shop, we worked out a deal so the kids are using this as a learning tool, plus helping us out and trying to get the younger generation involved in the parade," said float chairman Bill Quesnel.

Dean Tech Marangeliz Castillo added, "Just to see it from the beginning, how it was, it was nothing, and to see how it progressed and how it looks now is really awesome."

Most of it built by hand.

"We did a paper mache, plaster everything down. We did this by hand. We were supposed to use that machine, but we did this all by hand," said Dean Tech sophomore Adam Santos.

Dean Tech sophomore Anthony Aquirre noted, "It's going to be fun because it's something I worked on very hard and I'll like to see it used."

If you're planning to hit the parade this weekend, "it does get crazy and folks do try to claim their spots as early as possible. Try to get out there as early as you can on Sunday to try and claim your spot," Dunn noted.

Copyright 2018 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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