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243rd St. Patrick’s Day Parade, 2nd Oldest In Country, Draws Thousands

By Jenn Bernstein, Mike Dougherty

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a sea of green, as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade made its way down the streets of Philadelphia Sunday afternoon.

“I think today people don’t march with their feet, they march with their hearts,” said parade director Michael Bradley.

Close to 200 organizations showed their Irish pride, to the sound of bagpipes and other types of traditional Irish music.

PHOTOS: 243rd Philadelphia St. Patrick’s Day Parade

A steady stream of live music, performances and step dancers rolled past the starting line of the parade route at 16th and JFK. Thousands lined the Parkway to cheer and watch as the parade strolled by.

CBS 3’s very own cameras were there to catch the entire celebration.

This was the 10th year that Eyewitness News broadcasted the event; which was hosted by Chris May and Kathy Orr and our very own Bob Kelly reported from street.

CBS 3 station on air talent also came out and celebrated on our very own float.

See Parade On Demand

The Irish have deep roots in Philadelphia. The St. Patrick’s Day parade is the second oldest in the country, dating back to 1771.

Scott Eller, captain of the 69th Pennsylvania Irish Volunteers, was among those marching and says it’s important to remember history.

“A lot of the guys in this regiment actually have relatives that fought with this regiment during the Civil War. We’re representing our Irish heritage to keep the tradition going,” says Eller.

“It’s a wonderful talent, a great day out here, and a wonderful way to celebrate one of the finest traditions in Philadelphia’s history, the St. Patrick’s Day parade,” said Mayor Michael Nutter.

Donna Payne came down from Northern Liberties to enjoy the parade. “It’s fun, it’s tradition!”

Heather Custom made herself a shimmering green and orange outfit just for the parade.

“We all get to spend time with our family and we’re all Irish. So we just stand around and enjoy each other’s company,” and that, she says, is what this is all about.

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