Rules & Regulations

Revised for 2024 Parade Cycle
Click here for a PDF Brochure of the Rules and Regulations

Click here to watch the Participant Orientation Video


Applications must be received no later than January 12, 2024, but the sooner the better. There is no entry fee; however, financial support is welcome (see form). Financial donations to the Parade have no bearing on acceptance into the Parade and/or the awards competition judging.  Units that are accepted can pick up their line of march packets at designated locations. The theme of the 2024 St. Patrick’s Day Parade is, “Ireland:  One Island, One Nation”.

Weather, of course, is a major factor in staging the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The Committee is well aware of its responsibilities to participants and spectators alike. When weather conditions threaten, the Committee will use sound judgment, based on up-to-date weather information, in deciding whether to stage or postpone the Parade.

If postponed because of inclement weather, the Parade is automatically rescheduled for Sunday, March 24, 2024, for all units indicating on their application that they will be available .

Please answer the application form question about availability of your unit(s) to be in a rescheduled Parade. 

If the Parade is postponed, an announcement will be made on the Parade’s website and Facebook page. Additionally, Cleveland area broadcast media will be notified to announce any postponement. If weather is in doubt, please do not try to call the Committee. Instead, please check our website and Facebook.

  • Revised for 2024 Parade Cycle
  • Committee entry permit (coordinator’s ribbon) must be shown at all times.
  • Parade participants are required to wear uniforms or coordinated attire within each unit. Inappropriate dress will not be permitted.
  • Proper and legal conduct of Parade participants is required.
  • Alcoholic beverages are prohibited during the Parade, and in the staging area by law. This rule will be strictly enforced. Violators can be arrested.
  • The Parade staging area and Parade route is exclusively reserved for the St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee. Any event, including tailgating, that disrupts the staging of the Parade is not permitted.
  • The following vehicles are permitted in the Parade:
    • Vehicles used to pull floats. 
    • Classic / antique automobiles made prior to 1972.
    • Fire, Police, EMS, and other emergency / safety vehicles as approved by the Committee.
    • Military vehicles as approved by the Committee.
  • The Committee reserves the right to grant special permission for novelty vehicles not meeting one of the above criteria to participate in the Parade.
  • All vehicles must have proof of insurance in compliance with Ohio laws.
  • All vehicles must be in good working order. 
  • Every vehicle must display the current  year’s hang-tag in order to enter  the staging area and Parade route. Due to increased security, only vehicles that  are pre-approved by the Committee and have a hang-tag will be permitted. The Committee reserves the right to prohibit any vehicle, for any reason, at its sole discretion.
  • Every float must conform to the description submitted with the application, and shall be completely decorated. Floats shall comply with the Parade theme to be eligible for an award. Pull vehicles are permitted to be undecorated.
  • No more than two (2) persons may occupy any vehicle towing a float or novelty; no more than four may occupy an antique auto, or other novelty vehicle. Participants are not permitted to ride on vehicle hoods, roofs or bumpers. 
  • Advertising is not allowed. Unit sponsors may display their names and greetings only. Units or signs stating “Vote for ...”, “Elect ...”, “Shop at ...”, “We support …” or similar wording will be removed from the Parade by the Committee’s Parade marshals, and will result in possible suspension from future Parades.
  • Music must be (1) live, unamplified music; (2) live, amplified Irish music; or (3) prerecorded amplified Irish music. Use of amplified music must be noted on the Parade application, and approved by the Committee prior to the Parade. Bands using amplification will be disqualified from competition.
  • Throwing or distributing items, including candy, novelties, brochures, etc. from your unit/float to spectators or other units is prohibited; and will result in disqualification in competitions and suspension from future parades. Unit participants are not permitted to leave the Parade route to distribute items on the sidewalk.
  • All units, including those executing drills, must continue moving forward at all times once the Parade starts. 
  • Public officials are invited to march in the Public Officials Unit in the Lead Division of the Parade.
  • No advance publicity relating to any individual or unit’s participation in the Parade may be released without the specific approval of the Committee.
  • Animal units must provide a means for animal waste pickup and disposal.
  • The maximum height for vehicles and floats is thirteen feet, six inches (13’6”).
  • All units must conform to one of the following classifications, and provide a detailed description of the unit with the Parade application.
    • Non-School Band - Organized musicians under the direction of a band leader not affiliated with a grade school, high school, or college/university.
    • School Band - Organized musicians that are affiliated with a grade school, high school, or college/university and are under the direction of a band leader.
    • Bagpipe Band - Organized musicians under the direction of a band leader or Pipe Major, regardless of affiliation.
    • Parade Theme Float - A float portraying the theme of the current Parade. Pull vehicles are permitted to be undecorated or may be decorated to match the float theme.
    • Precision Drill Team.
    • Color Guard / Honor Guard.
    • Marching Unit - A unit consisting of a minimum of four (4) people representing an organization, school, military unit, or other recognized entity.
    • Children’s Unit - A unit consisting solely of children 14 years of age and younger. Chaperones are not considered part of the unit.
    • Novelty - Units including, but not limited to: antique / classic automobiles; horse units; other novelty vehicles with prior written approval from the Committee; bicycle units; theatrical groups; floats with prior written approval from the Committee not conforming with the Parade theme.
    • Visiting groups are not eligible for category awards but will be recognized for their participation.

Rules governing participation in the Parade have been established by the Committee that plans, finances, and directs the Parade. They exist so that the event will reflect favorably on the occasion, the participants and Greater Cleveland.

Any individual or unit violating any of these rules is subject to disqualification from awards competition and/or expulsion from the Parade.

Please cooperate and help us keep this beloved Cleveland tradition the largest-drawing annual single-day event downtown.

The rules contained on this website will be strictly enforced throughout the duration of the Parade.

Thank you,
John J. Togher
Executive Director

The Parade Committee awards 1st, 2nd and 3rd place prizes in the following categories:
  • Bagpipe Band
  • Children’s Unit
  • Honor/Color Guard
  • Non-School Band
  • Novelty Unit
  • Parade Theme Float
  • Precision Drill Team
  • School Band

Permanent possession of the 1st place trophy is awarded to the first unit that wins this trophy three times. Those three wins need not be in successive years.

Additionally, the following special prizes are awarded annually:
  • John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaque
    • Best Unit of Parade (regardless of category)
  • $100 Grant Each From Cleveland Firefighters Local #93, IAFF & UISGC
    • Best School Band
    • Best Non-School Band
    • Best Bagpipe Band
  • Augustine Boland Memorial Trophy
    • (One Year – Never Retires)
    • Best Unit Consisting of Children age 14 and under (regardless of category)
  • Thomas F. McManamon Executive Director’s Cup 
  • Raymond (Rip) and Mary Reilly Directors Emeritus Award
  • William F. Chambers Deputy Director’s Award
  • Visiting groups are not eligible for category awards but will be recognized for their participation

If your unit elects to compete for prizes, qualified, impartial judges choose winners, using an objective point system. The prizes are presented at the annual Irish Parade Awards Banquet on Sunday, April 7, 2024, at the West Side Irish American Club, 8559 Jennings Rd., Olmsted Township, OH  44138.

Winning units will be notified following the Parade. Over $4000-worth of prizes are awarded each year through our Parade Awards Program.

Additional information about the St. Patrick’s Day Parade awards and winners can be found on the Awards page of our website.