Many activities and events are centered around the St. Patrick's Day holiday that occurs every year on March 17. While parties at bars, clubs and pubs are popular, some cities and communities choose to host a St. Patrick's Day parade since it allows all ages to celebrate the Irish holiday. Any community can start their own parade by learning what steps it takes to make a St. Patrick's Day parade a success.

Form a committee. Search for volunteers from your community willing to serve on a planning committee to assist you in organizing the parade. Ensure they have time to devote to meeting regularly as well as help solicit sponsors, find parade participants and promote the event. Check to make sure they will also be available to assist with the parade on the day of the big event.

Determine the specifics. Check a calendar to find out what day of the week St. Patrick's Day falls on. If it's a weekday, decide if you'll host the parade on that day or the weekend before or after the event. Know that many children and families may not be able to attend if the parade occurs on a weekday that conflicts with work and school. Once you have a date, set the time and begin planning the route of the parade.

Obtain the proper permits. With the parade being held on public streets and roads in your community, it's important to get the appropriate permits to close and barricade streets for the event. Visit city hall to fill out an application for a permit to have the parade. Meet with representatives from the street department as well as the police department to ensure barricades are in place the day of the event and police are available to redirect traffic at major intersections. When meeting with the police department, check to find out if they would like to have a police car leading the start of the parade helping to clear the streets of people and traffic.

Solicit sponsors. Talk to local business owners and leaders about sponsoring the St. Patrick's Day parade by donating money to help pay for supplies and advertising. Arrange the parade to end in a major shopping center or district in your city. Sell the businesses in the center on the importance of promoting and advertising the event since it will draw a big crowd to their area and will bring more people into their businesses once the parade has ended. The latter can also work in areas with a high concentration of bars or clubs since people are likely to enjoy some green beer once the parade is over.

Create the rules. Decide if a prize will be given to the best floats or entries in the parade, and set up a criteria for how they are judged. Type up a list of safety rules parade participants must follow such as whether or not they are allowed to throw candy from their floats. Ensure you send this information to the participants when soliciting their participation in the parade.

Seek out participants. Send letters, flyers and information to businesses and groups about participating in the parade. Many businesses like to be represented using company vehicles while civic and church groups often get together to make floats their members can ride on. Check with local high school and college marching bands to determine if they want to march in the parade. Make a list of special guests to participate in the parade such as the city's mayor, other politicians or celebrities from your city. Speak with local car dealerships to find convertibles and other vehicles suitable for them to ride in and wave to the crowd. Have a registration form for participants to fill out and return to you if they plan to be in the parade. Draft a line-up of the floats and groups to help get participants in order on the day of the event.

Find volunteers. Seek out volunteers from the community willing to help with the parade. Place some volunteers along the parade route to monitor and help maintain the flow of the parade as well as deal with any problems that arise. Get volunteers to drive the cars carrying special guests in the parade as well as others to judge parade entries if prizes are awarded. Finally, ensure you have volunteers to help with clean up once the parade has ended.

Promote the parade. Place advertisements on radio and television as well as in newspapers to promote the St. Patrick's Day parade. Set up a website specifically for the event, or post information on the city's website or other community organization's homepages, such as the Chamber of Commerce or the city's tourism division. Send flyers to participants who have registered a parade entry, and ask them to place the flyer in their business, church or other public location.

Host the parade. Arrive early at the meeting location for parade entries on the day of the parade. Begin lining up floats, groups and participants as they arrive in their correct order. Check that barricades along the parade route are in place. Make sure all rental cars from local dealerships are on site and ready for use carrying the parade's special guests. Start the parade at the designated time with the police department's vehicles if they've volunteered. Pace floats and parade entries appropriately to prevent congestion. Check in with volunteers along the parade route to ensure it is going smoothly. Once all parade entries have reached the end of the parade route, collect judging information and announce the winners.

Clean up. Have volunteers walk along the sidewalks where observers gathered to watch the parade, and encourage them to pick up and discard any trash they find. Dispose of any trash left behind at the meeting location for parade entries before the parade. Meet with members of your committee within a week or two of the St. Patrick's Day parade to discuss the pros and cons of the event. Ask for suggestions for improvement as well as how to correct what went wrong. Use this information when planning next year's St. Patrick's Day parade.