The St. Patrick Society will hold it's 31st annual parade this Saturday. Here's all the details you need to know!

(St. Patrick Society)

The St. Patrick Society, Quad Cities U.S.A. will mark 31 years of The Grand Parade, the nation's only bi-state St. Patrick's Parade with the Gathering of the Clan Luncheon on Friday March 11 and Grand Parade XXXI and Post-Parade Bash on Saturday March 12. The Gathering of the Clan Luncheon and Post-Parade Bash will both be held at the Davenport RiverCenter.

Grand Parade XXXI will start promptly on Saturday at 11:30AM at the corner of 4th Avenue and 23rd Street in Rock Island, Illinois. The parade will travel through downtown Rock Island, across the Mississippi River via the Centennial Bridge to W. Third Street and proceed east through downtown Davenport, Iowa along an expanded route to the RiverCenter at E. Third and Perry Streets.

A special Mass will be celebrated prior to the parade at 10:00AM at St. Mary's Catholic Church in downtown Rock Island.

The St. Patrick Society and Riverbend Food Bank will be conducting a food drive the morning of The Grand Parade XXXI, Saturday, March 12. Approximately 30 minutes before the parade kicks off at 11:30AM in Rock Island, Riverbend volunteers will precede the parade and collect any non-perishable food items that spectators, along the entire bi-state route, donate. The SPS will also accept donated items at the Gathering of the Clan Luncheon on Friday March 11, and at the Post-Parade Bash on Saturday (both events held at the RiverCenter).

The City of Davenport will have a designated accessible viewing area on the south side of the intersection of Ripley and W.3rd Streets for people with disabilities. Also, there will be seating inside the lobby of the north RiverCenter, along E. Third Street, for those with disabilities to view the parade.

Parade organizers are most interested in participants expressing the spirit of St. Patrick, including marching bands, musical groups, decorated floats, novelty entries and walking units, especially Irish family walking units. The parade is already at its limit for cars, trucks, and vans. For safety reasons, throwaways from parade participants are not allowed. The Society also strictly prohibits the distribution by Parade participants of any paper items including, but not limited to, brochures, leaflets, flyers, and coupons. All parade units will be judged in the following categories: Best Commercial, Best Irish Float, Most Unique Entry, Best Military Group, Best Irish Family Walking Unit, Best Community Spirit, Best Youth Group, Best International (non-Irish), Best Newcomer, and Best Overall.
The trophy winners will be announced following the Grand Parade XXXI at the Post-Parade Bash at the RiverCenter in Davenport from 1:00 to 4:30PM. Entry to the Bash is by St. Patrick Society membership. Memberships may be purchased at the door for $15.00; you do not need to be Irish to join the St. Patrick Society. Children age 15 and younger, accompanied by a paying adult, will be admitted at no charge. In addition to the presentation of trophies, there will be food, drink, memorabilia, a 50/50 raffle, and Irish music performed by The Don't Be Brothers Band, pipers and Irish dancers.

One day earlier, on Friday, March 11, the St. Patrick Society will host the annual Gathering of the Clan Luncheon, also at the RiverCenter, from 11:00AM to 1:30PM. Introductions of the Irish Mother of the Year and Grand Parade XXXI Marshal will be made. In addition, the St. Patrick Society Scholarship winner will also be recognized. The luncheon is open to the public; cost is $25.00. For reservations, please contact Vic or Kathy Quinn at 563-322-7505, or email: stpatsluncheonmar11@gmail.com .

PLEASE NOTE: The Iowa-bound lanes of the Centennial Bridge will be closed from 11AM-1PM on Saturday, March 12, 2016, for the St. Patrick Society's Grand Parade XXXI. Illinois-Iowa traffic will be accommodated in the Illinois-bound lanes on an alternating basis, with a police escort.

For more information on St. Patrick Society activities, please visit our website at www.stpatsqc.com