The St. Patrick’s Day Parade – A Fun Seattle Tradition to Share with Our Students!

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade – A Fun Seattle Tradition to Share with Our Students!

By Debbie Chan, WAL Student Services & Activities Coordinator for the English Language Program

Every quarter, I plan activities for our WAL and CityU international students to enjoy and experience. My focus is mainly to reach out to our English language students, though it is not limited to them alone*. So–what is one to do with St. Patrick’s Day coming soon? What is the best way to introduce our students to this popular holiday?

Do our students know all the traditions, customs, and fun shenanigans that go along with this holiday, which many of us lovingly call St. Patty’s Day? Thinking that this day may be celebrated more in the United States than in Ireland, I wanted students to get a taste of this holiday from our city’s point of view. The solution? Let’s take them to the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade in downtown Seattle! This way, they can see all the fun this parade brings to the whole Seattle community.

On March 14, on the morning of the parade, the winds blew hard and the rain clouds hovered over Seattle. It looked it was going to be a wet and dreary day. I kept thinking, “Please don’t rain on our parade!” Plus, it was the weekend before final tests, and I didn’t know who would be able to brave the weather (and leave their studies) to set out to see the parade with me. I only knew of 3 others coming.

St. Patty's Day Parade with Bagpipers WAL
Erica Hutapea at the parade.

Lo and behold, at my favorite meeting place in a local Starbucks store, the 3 students came, along with 4 others that I didn’t know about. What a pleasant surprise! And the bigger surprise? As the parade started, the clouds lifted, and the rain stopped! We all had a wonderful time! The sights and sounds of the parade were fascinating to our students. They took photos with pirates, pipers, Irish Setters, Wolfhounds, and everything else they could get a photo of! The students had big smiles and I don’t think they put down their cameras and phones for very long!

This was an inexpensive and fun activity for them, and I hope to take them every year. Plus they were able to be Irish for the day! And what a great day it was.

*If you would like to join our students for activities such as these, please contact Debbie at, to receive a current WAL activities schedule.

Published March 20, 2015



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