Ron Thibodeaux directs the Iowa Music & Arts Association “Fun Drummin'” drumline Saturday, March 12, 2022, during the SAPADAPASO parade in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. The group, promoting the return of Tournament of Drums this summer, won first place in the Best Band/Musical Entry and the Jimmy Blake Golden Spoons Award. (photo/Cindy Hadish)

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Temperatures that stayed below freezing kept the massive crowds of the past at bay, but sunshine reigned as the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade made its return to downtown Cedar Rapids.

Nearly 70 entries rolled through the traditional parade route along Second and Third Avenues SE on Saturday, March 12, 2022, a nontraditional day that marked the first time the parade has not been held on St. Patrick’s Day itself.

Organizers with SaPaDaPaSo, for St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society, have said finding volunteers during the workweek has become challenging in scheduling the event for a Saturday.

Related: Nontraditional twist for parade’s return

Though crowds were relatively sparse compared to previous years when thousands of spectators lined the route, the parade was in full celebration mode for its return to the downtown after a two-year hiatus.

As COVID-19 pandemic concerns elevated in March 2020, organizers decided to cancel the parade, which had been held, rain or shine, since 1976.

Last year, before COVID-19 vaccine was widely available, the parade was moved to Hawkeye Downs in southwest Cedar Rapids, where organizers held “the first and last, one of a kind race track parade.”

Spectators stayed in their vehicles and drove around to view parade entries that remained stationary inside the track.

See photos from the 2021 parade

Even a train that passed through this year, just as the festivities got underway, couldn’t derail the parade’s return to downtown Cedar Rapids.

See more photos from the 2022 parade, below: