West Peoria kicks off first-ever St. Patrick’s Day parade

A group of attendees gather in front of Jimmy's Bar in West Peoria to enjoy the village's...
A group of attendees gather in front of Jimmy's Bar in West Peoria to enjoy the village's first-ever St. Patrick's Day parade Saturday.(WEEK)
Updated: Mar. 11, 2023 at 8:29 PM CST
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WEST PEORIA (25News Now) - St. Patrick’s Day celebrations started early in West Peoria Saturday, with a parade marching down Farmington Road for the first time ever in the city.

Since the holiday is on a Friday this year, the event lets residents and families celebrate without having to take time off from work or school. With plenty of candy being thrown, and the crowds decked out in green, those marking the celebration of their heritage say it’s a point of pride.

“For me, it’s about celebrating my Irish roots,” says Flynn School of Irish Dance owner Peggy Flynn Dwyer. “My parents are both Irish, I was raised listening to Irish music and started dancing when I was 15. As I’ve gotten older, I was able to pass that on to others and eventually my own children.”

Mayor James Dillon says he was excited about the turnout for a first-time event, with 20 additional floats joining the route. He says he hopes the Irish community feels both the love and luck from the celebrations.

“There is a big Irish heritage in the Peoria area, and everyone wants to be Irish,” he says, “and so this is one day and next week is another day that everyone can be Irish.”

The first grand marshal was a senior at Bradley University from West Peoria’s sister city in Ireland. The mayor told us he’s hoping to make this parade an annual event.