Silky O’Sullivan’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade returns to Beale Street

Updated: Mar. 12, 2022 at 8:36 PM CST
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Rarely on a Saturday afternoon do you see a packed Beale Street, and a kickoff to the week of St. Patrick’s Day is one of those occasions.

The 49th annual Silky O’Sullivan’s St. Patrick Day Parade returned to Beale Street, where hundreds of Mid-Southerners braved the cold weather dressed in green and some kilts.

“This is my first time. I’m so excited,” said Rhodes College Junior Libby Long.

“It seems they had a pretty good turnout, even with the weather,” echoed Daniel DiMarcello.

From Memphis businesses to Shelby County law enforcement, floats of all kinds made their way down the road.

“It’s great to see,” continued DiMarcello. “You know it’s fun coming out here, seeing everyone out here, and enjoying the parade and the crowds. Everyone seems to be in good spirits.”

This time last year, the near 50-year tradition was delayed due to COVID-19, pushed back to May 1.

Owner of Silky O’Sullivan’s Joellyn Sullivan says it’s good to see the crowds again.

“It is so indicative and reflective of the fact that people are ready to get out,” Sullivan said. “They want to get back to normal life, and we have been seeing that really for several months.”

With that desire to return to normalcy, Sullivan said this was the “coming out” party for Beale Street.

“It’s about gathering. It’s about making new friends,” Sullivan said. “It is about smiling with your fellow citizens no matter what, and we’re glad to be bringing those special moments back with this parade.”

“It’s been so fun to be able to come out to Beale Street and be able to socialize and stuff. It’s been a lot of fun,” said Long.

“I think it’s just a telltale sign of how the city is doing. It seems like the city’s back after COVID,” DiMarcello said.

Sullivan said the only reason the crowd wasn’t bigger was because of the cold weather, but it still provided a nice change of scenery from what we saw during the pandemic.

Being able to push through the last two years, Sullivan proudly said this is a tradition that can make it through anything.

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