CLEVELAND, Ohio -- A little snow, cold and rain will not be enough to stop thousands of people from flocking to downtown Cleveland for the St. Patrick's Day parade. Despite some earlier rumors, the annual tradition is going on as planned.
The parade kicks off at 1:04 p.m. at the intersection of East 18th Street and Superior Avenue. It ends at Rockwell and Ontario Avenues.
**We will stream the parade right here on fox8.com and also on our FOX 8 News Facebook page**
The night before St. Patrick's Day is one of the busiest nights of the year for cooks at Slyman's Restaurant on Saint Clair Avenue. General Manager Samir Elnahass says their business drastically increases on the holiday.
"Between 300 and 500 pounds a day usually normal, then you know St. Patrick's Day, a couple thousand pounds," he said.
Thursday evening, they were cooking up more than a ton of corned beef as they prepare to serve the deli's world famous sandwiches Friday-- a 24-hour process.
"Four o'clock you start seeing people bring their chairs and lining up outside, waiting to come in. It's amazing to see the kind of fans that we have," said Elnahass.
Eating corned beef sandwiches and watching the annual St. Patrick's Day parade are some of the biggest and oldest traditions in Cleveland.
Cleveland police expect about a quarter million people will line Superior Avenue to see the bands, listen to the bagpipes and watch about 125 floats and other units that participate.
"I'm a retired fireman from South Euclid and so I march every year; I haven't missed in 30 years," said Mike Burke.
There had been some concerns about the weather. The parade committee said, "This is Cleveland. We know how to dress for a cold day and we know how to celebrate St. Patrick's Day; we've been doing it for 175 years and we'll do it again tomorrow."
"We'll be open at six a.m. and just pouring the Guinness and serving corned beef all day," said Sean O'Donnell, general manager of Flannery's Pub on Prospect. He says extra staff has been called in and tents have been set up to accommodate the larger crowds.
"Probably one of the bigger St. Patty's, it's a Friday. We think it's gonna go probably longer and a little earlier this year; people don't have to work the next day," O'Donnell said.
"We'll be here at Flannery's after that and you don't know what's gonna happen after that," said customer, Julie Burke.
Parade committee executives say Cleveland's St. Patrick's Day parade has never been canceled. It has only been postponed three times in the last sixty years.