MIDTOWN (WABC) -- One of New York's grandest and oldest traditions returned on Friday - the St. Patrick's Day Parade!
The annual parade in New York City, which bills itself as the world's largest and oldest, drew throngs to Fifth Avenue to await bagpipes and bands, and give homage to Ireland's patron saint.
"When we march up Fifth Avenue," New York Mayor Eric Adams said during the annual St. Patrick's Day Breakfast Reception, "it appears as though everything turns to green."
Irish immigrants have a deep history in helping New York City become what it is today - one of the many groups, the mayor said, "that make up our city and that makes us great."
Kevin Conway, the parade's grand marshal, led the way.
"We're going to march in a celebration of all things Irish, the Irish culture, the Irish people. We're going to march in tribute to the 25th anniversary of the Good Friday Peace Agreement," he said, referring to the peace accord that helped end sectarian violence over the reunification of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom.
Bernadette Byrne, who took in the parade while visiting from Ireland, felt right at home.
"The atmosphere is great," she said. "Everybody's so friendly."
Our first time to the parade. Well, we love New York, so we try to come as much as we can. But this was on our bucket list to see the parade.
She is not the only first timer. Eyewitness News met several people visiting from Ireland just to experience the sights and sounds of the parade. Much different from back home, they said.
"I suppose it's more more artistic and cultural and lots of different types of floats," one visitor said.
Cardinal Dolan presided over a Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral before the start of the parade.
Organizers said this year's parade raised money for Catholic Charities, City Harvest, and City Meals on Wheels, organizations that work to help people have better access to food.
Mayor Eric Adams, Governor Kathy Hochul, and several other politicians made their way up the parade route followed by bands, mounted police, and many other organizations.
Many different groups performed during the parade including the Port Authority Pipes and Drums. They did a preview performance leading up to the parade in the main lobby of the Bus Terminal on 42nd Street for commuters Thursday.
Governor Hochul announced that New York State landmarks will be lit green on Friday in honor of St. Patrick's Day.
"My father's parents immigrated from Ireland to the United States in search of a better life and today I am proud to honor the contributions Irish-American New Yorkers have made to our state and country," Governor Hochul said. "Today, we recognize the Irish-American spirit of toughness, perseverance and resiliency, and I wish all New Yorkers celebrating a very safe and happy St. Patrick's Day."
The landmarks to be lit in honor of St. Patrick's Day include:
Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge
The H. Carl McCall SUNY Building
State Education Building
Alfred E. Smith State Office Building
Empire State Plaza
State Fairgrounds - Main Gate & Expo Center
Grand Central Terminal - Pershing Square Viaduct
Albany International Airport Gateway
MTA LIRR - East End Gateway at Penn Station
Fairport Lift Bridge over the Erie Canal
Moynihan Train Hall
The Lake Placid Olympic Center
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