The 128th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival in Downtown Atlanta is set for Friday and Saturday, March 12 and 13.

“This is going to be an especially exciting year to celebrate Irish heritage in Atlanta,” says Chairman of the Committee for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and Festival and Owner of Underground Atlanta, Dan O’Leary. “We have more fun activities and ways to enjoy the holiday than ever before. You can catch prizes and beads from ornate parade floats at the Parade and enjoy bagpipers, Irish dancers and other family-oriented activities afterwards at Underground Atlanta. Come Downtown and bring your green!”

The parade will begin at noon on Saturday stepping off from the intersection of Peachtree and Ralph McGill to Underground Atlanta. Spectators will  see more than 200 units, including clowns, floats, bands of every kind, military units, Bagpipe and Drum Corps, Irish dancers, drill teams, dignitaries from Ireland and more Two-time NCAA and seven-time SEC “Coach of the Year” Vince Dooley is Grand Marshal of the parade and will ride in style with his wife Barbara and one of the descendents of UGA V.

The celebration continues post parade at Underground Atlanta for the St. Patrick’s Day Festival, with Irish dancing troupes, bagpipers, a vendor’s market, an Interactive Zone presented by the Atlanta Hawks and Thrashers Street Team and other activities for green-loving folks, both young and old, from noon to 8 p.m. Visit the Lower Fountains Stage, Lucky Charm Stage, Food Court Stage or Kenny’s Alley Stage for music, including: U2 tribute band Desire, Yacht Rock Schooner, teensensation Zoe Myers and bagpiper Danny Ray Cole!

The 2010 beneficiary is the Atlanta Community Food Bank and drop-off bins will be located along the parade route and at Underground, so bring your cans.

The full schedule for the event can be found at www.stpatsparadeatlanta.com or follow along on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/stpatsparadeatl.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.