Buffalo’s Declassified Guide to Surviving the Old Neighborhood Parade

Event, Things to Do


Written by Lauren Spoth

Published on March 1, 2023
Photo courtesy of The Valley Community Center

So. You’re going to the Old Neighborhood St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Congratulations my friend because you are in for one helluva good time. Some may argue that the Old Neighborhood Parade is THE parade to go to in Buffalo/the United States/the world…and they’re not wrong. This uniquely Buffalo magical vortex truly needs to be experienced to be understood, so get your arse to the Old First Ward and make sure you’re prepared for the long day ahead:


1. The streets close at 11 am. Be down in the OFW by 10 am. People will already be drunk because they started at 7 am.
2. Wear. Green. This should be a no-brainer, but one time I wore a pink sweater underneath my green coat and to this day I still get crap about it. Save yourself.
3. Wear gloves – your hands will be holding a cold drink for hours and you’ll be outside. Duh.
4. House parties and street corners are like VIP clubs – find yourself one and let the party commence.
5. Related: Avoid the corner where the old Leahy’s used to be unless you are 22 or younger. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya.
6. You will run into EVERYONE you know, so have your ‘my life is amazing and going soooo well’ story memorized.
7. You might get hit in the head with a miniature box of Lucky Charms. The General Mills float loOoOoves tossing out mini boxes of cereal, and no one is safe (but we’re all winners here so thanks, GM)


  1. Shotgun a water every hour or so. It helps with the 12-24 hours of drinking that somehow happens every year even though you swear it won’t.
  2. You will probably end up in the parade at some point. Just embrace it.
  3. Don’t distract the Iron Workers straddling that beam in the parade…they need to be prepared to duck under the electrical wires.
  4. Never ever ask what’s under the kilt. Ever.
  5. The dogs carrying beer are the real heroes of the parade. Salute them as such.
Carbone’s / Photo x @buffalopizzablogger

13. Memorize Carbone’s Pizza’s phone number and address. Thank us later.
14. After the parade, you will end up at Gene McCarthy’s, Adolf’s Old First Ward Tavern, Cook’s, Swannie House, or the Valley Center. Bonus points for winding up at all of them.
15. At the end of the night you’ll somehow find yourself at Doc Sullivan’s. You may not know how or why, but you will. And everyone you know will be there too.

This post was originally published in 2017 and has been updated.

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Written by <a href="" target="_self">Lauren Spoth</a>

Written by Lauren Spoth

Lauren is the Creative Marketing Director at Step Out Buffalo aka the person who posts all those memes on social. A lover of Buffalo, food, travel, and animals, she can usually be found trying different local restaurants while planning her next adventure and asking passersby if she can pet their dog. Follow her dog-petting adventures on Instagram @laurenspoth


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