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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Cleveland welcomed thousands of people to its 175th St. Patrick’s Day parade on Friday.

For kids, it was a chance to get out of school and have some fun. For adults, it was all about honoring tradition. 

“I’m a huge fan of the parade. I come every year for as long as I can remember,” Lisa Wiltse said. “It just proves that we’re Clevelanders and we’re hearty.” 

The parade kicked off on Superior Avenue at East 18th Street at 1:04 p.m., heading west on Superior Avenue to Public Square.

It then traveled north on West Roadway and east on Rockwell Avenue, ending at Rockwell Avenue and Ontario Street.

Everyone who comes to the parade has a favorite thing to see, whether that’s the floats, the marching bands or the police and firefighters playing the bagpipes. 

Six-year-old Quinn Holz couldn’t wait to see the dancers. 

“Because I love Irish dancing,” Holz said. 

According to organizers, upward of 10,000 participants in 125 units representing 28 Irish organizations were expected at the event.

Organized by the United Irish Societies of Greater Cleveland, this year’s parade theme was A Salute To Irish American Athletes.

This year, the parade set the stage for a weekend packed with drinking, eating and celebrating in Downtown Cleveland. But for most people, they were happy to stay dry and spend time with their families. 

“It’s part of my heritage and it’s just lively and it’s all about love,” Ashleigh Shumney said. 

You can learn more about the parade here.