EAST PALESTINE - An American-Irish family that recently relocated to the village is organizing a new parade to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.
Village native John Minerd and his wife and children have deep rooted Irish ancestry and are looking forward to celebrating that with other locals during a parade on March 15, the Saturday before the Monday holiday.
"We are pretty much 100 percent Irish, (with) just a little bit of Scottish in there," he said.
He and his wife Amanda have encouraged their three children, ages 22, 13, and 9 to appreciate their ancestry, their long-ago relatives' native land, and the importance of St. Patrick's Day.
"I let them know as much as I possibly can that genealogy, heritage plays into it and the holidays that come from over there, like Halloween," he said.
St. Patrick's Day is celebrated on March 17 and is named after Saint Patrick, a patron saint of Ireland.
Minerd said misconceptions of the holiday are that it's "just a big drinking fest."
"To us it's just family gathering, celebrating those things that are held at this time of year," he said.
He and his family are organizing and funding the new East Palestine parade. Over the years they have attended parades in Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Youngstown.
They already anticipate it becoming an annual event.
"It's just something we think is needed around here, something that will stay local. There is quite a lot of Irish in East Palestine," he said.
The family already received permission and the required permits from the village to host the parade that will begin at 4 p.m. March 15. The route will begin at the corner of Main and Market streets and continue down Market to Taggart Street.
The parade will feature authentic Irish musicians and dancers from Cleveland and a bagpiper from Youngstown.
Authentic Irish food like Shepherd's Pie, lamb burgers, and Guinness bratwursts and stew will also be available following the parade at Marshall's Bar and Grill. Irish-American corned beef and cabbage will also be made.
Other businesses participating include the local Dairy Queen, Elder Farm Equipment and State Street Tattoo of Salem, which will be bringing old classic cars.
Other music will be provided by Sparrow Figley and 4-H group Hearts and Horseshoes.
"It's been a treat but it's going to be well worth it. I plan on doing it every single year and I plan on it getting bigger every year," Minerd said.
Minerd also heads up a charitable organization known as the Irish Brotherhood that hosts fund-raisers to supply food to needy in Columbiana and Mahoning counties.
The organization is looking to host an Irish festival in town this summer, he said.