Gov. Pat McCrory will make a record third appearance as grand marshal Saturday morning in the 17th annual St. Patricks Day Parade in Charlottes uptown.
Bolstered by a record crowd last year and more entries than any other year, parade organizers have extended the route this year.
The parade, scheduled for an 11 a.m. start, is part of a full day of Irish-flavored festivities that also includes the Charlotte Goes Green Festival, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
McCrory, serving his first term as governor after seven terms as Charlottes mayor, was grand marshal previously in 2003 and 2009. Last years parade and festival drew a record 80,000 spectators, according to organizers.
The parade will start on North Tryon Street at 9th Street, and follow Tryon south to 3rd Street. Units then will follow 3rd street east to Caldwell Street. In past years, the parade ended at Tryon and 3rd streets, but the route was extended this year to accommodate the large number of units participating.
The festival, featuring live entertainment and plenty of Irish food, will be on South Tryon Street, between 1st and 3rd streets. There is no admission charge.
The parade features a wide variety of groups -- ranging from elected officials to neighborhood organizations. Deputy grand marshal will be Tom Murray, CEO of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority.
Festival entertainment will include the Loch Norman Pipe Band; the Walsh-Kelley School of Dance and the Rince Na Eireann Dance School; the Federal Clan Kings; and the Thistletown Tinkers.
In addition, US Airways and Tourism Ireland will hold a drawing for a seven-day trip for two to Ireland, including airfare, lodging and a rental car. The drawing will be at 4:30 p.m., and winners must be present.
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