CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa — Organizers with SaPaDaPaSo — St. Patrick’s Day Parade Society — last year cited a challenge with finding volunteers during the workweek in moving the traditional parade to a day other than St. Patrick’s Day on March 17.
The 2023 parade, set for 1 p.m. Saturday, March 11, starting at Sixth Street near Second Avenue SE in downtown Cedar Rapids, marks the second time the parade has been moved to the Saturday before St. Patrick’s Day.
A snowstorm sweeping through Iowa just two days before the parade has naysayers pointing to the date change as the problem, though the past 48 years since its inception has seen a range of cold, rainy days to warmth with abundant sunshine.
With temperatures forecast for the mid-30s, participating organizations, such as the Czech Royal Court and the award-winning Iowa Music & Arts Association’s Iowa Fun Drummin’ are encouraging their members to dress for the weather, and organizers are recommending the same for parade-goers.
As COVID-19 pandemic concerns elevated in March 2020, organizers decided to cancel the parade, which had been held, rain or shine, since 1976.
In 2021, 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.