Saint Patrick, called the Apostle of Ireland, is celebrated around the world on March 17. In San Francisco, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade has been an annual event since 1851. For the 162nd time, the City will invite everyone to become Irish during this year’s March 16 parade and festival at Civic Center. The organizers, The United Irish Societies, call this, “the largest Irish event west of the Mississippi.”
Here is a video clip of the festival from a couple of years ago:
Here is info on the March 16 parade and festival:
This year’s parade and festival theme is “Honoring Celtic Women,” and the Grand Marshall is San Francisco Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White. The Chief is a native San Franciscan and joined the San Francisco Fire Department (SFFD) in 1990, becoming the 25th Chief, and first woman to be the SFFD Chief, in 2004. Women joined the SFFD for the first time as firefighter trainees in 1984. Today, approximately 15 percent of San Francisco’s firefighters are women, which is on par with the departments in New York and Boston.
Most of us expect that when needed, our local, professional firefighters will answer the call. San Francisco had a volunteer fire department until 1866. That year, in addition to allocating money for hiring men to serve the citizens, the Board of Supervisors also bought 27 horses to pull the four new steam fire engines to fight fires. The department had their headquarters in the basement of City Hall.
In January of 1966, there was a groundbreaking ceremony at 260 Golden Gate Avenue for what opened on April 18, 1967 as the new SFFD Headquarters. This was 61 years to the day from the powerful 1906 earthquake and fire that ravaged the City.