Celebrating St. Patrick’s Day, 2017

St. Patrick's Day parade participants walking in Royal Oak.

St. Patrick’s Day may not be until March 17th, but communities in and around Oakland County are already gearing up for the festivities. From live music, dances, and theatrical productions – to hearty meals, races, and parades – there’s a St. Patrick’s Day event for everyone! So whether or not you trace your ancestry back to the emerald isle, remember that everyone’s a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day.

Use our list of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in and around Oakland County to make the most out of this special day!

Who was St. Patrick?

  • St. Patrick was originally born in England, and was kidnapped by Irish pirates where he was sold into slavery. After his escape from bondage he became a missionary in Ireland.
  • A hero in Ireland, there are 60 churches and cathedrals named “St. Patrick’s,” with the most famous being in Dublin.
  • The wearing of green is associated with the green hills and shamrocks of the Emerald Isle, although traditionally the color blue was associated with St. Patrick.
  • The first St. Patrick’s Day Parade was held in New York, but the first observance of the day was in 1737 by the Charitable Irish Society of Boston.
  • In 1996 the first St. Patrick’s Day Festival was held in Ireland as a three-day event, that has since grown to a five day festival that draws roughly 1 million visitors to the area.

Parade marchers sitting on the back of an old model T.

St. Patrick’s Day in Michigan

In Michigan, the largest wave of Irish immigrants came in 1815 when one million Irish Catholics settled in the Detroit area. Today’s festivities commemorate St. Patrick with parades and merrymaking, celebrating Irish heritage in Southeast Michigan and the contributions they made to the American cultural landscape.

Think your family can be traced back to the early Irish settlers of the area? Find a record of your ancestors at the Archives of Michigan to discover more about your family history.


Visit the Oakland County website, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest for more news and fun year round.

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