Holyoke Pride: Shamrock Driveways

Each year, Holyoke Public Schools Transitions Academy does a fundraiser where local teens paint these iconic green shamrocks on community member's driveways. This year, I sponsored 6 driveways to support our schools and showcase Holyoke Pride! Here's one of the driveways of a new Holyoke resident, Sage!



History of the Irish in Holyoke

Excerpts taken from Wikipedia, read it all here

From the beginning of the city's history as the western bank of Springfield, Irish families have resided in and contributed to the development of the civics and culture of Holyoke, Massachusetts. Today people of Irish ancestry are the second largest demographic in Holyoke and the largest non-Hispanic group. From 1840 through 1870 the area saw a large influx of Irish Catholic workers, immigrants to the United States, initially from the exodus of the Great Famine.


During that period Irish immigrants and their descendants comprised the largest demographic in Holyoke and built much of the early city's infrastructure, including the dams, canals, and factories. Facing early hardships from Anti-Irish sentiment, Holyoke's Irish would largely build the early labor movement of the city's textile and paper mills, and remained active in the national Irish nationalist and Gaelic revival movements of the United States, with the Holyoke Philo-Celtic Society being one of 13 signatory organizations creating the Gaelic League of America, an early 20th century American counterpart of Conradh na Gaeilge


The Holyoke Parade

The Irish community today organizes the largest public event held in Holyoke annually, the Holyoke Saint Patrick's Day Parade, with representatives from surrounding towns and cities, which has gradually become a collective celebration for people of Irish parentage as well as the city's syncretic culture.


Attendance

While the first parade saw around an estimated 25,000 spectators in recent years the estimated number of spectator's has exceeding 400,000, approximately ten times as many people as there were residents of Holyoke as of the most recent census. The event, considered as much a regional as local venue, attracts many spectators from surrounding states and even Ireland itself in recent years. In 2011 the UMass Donahue Institute estimated the parade brought in $20 million annually to the local economy, through its participants and spectators


Parade Spectator Estimates By Year (1952–Present)


Holyoke St. Patricks Day Parade Attendance: this chart shows a rise of approximate 25000 attendees in 1950 rising to nearly 400,000 in 2020.
Holyoke St. Patrick's Day Parade Attendance

Here's the pricing to support Holyoke Public Schools and show your Irish Pride!

The 2019 pricing sheet for driveway Holyoke School's Shamrocks Driveway fundraiser. It shows 4 combinations and sizing with prices ranging from $20 for a small single shamrock to $60 for a combination of three shamrocks of various sizes.
The 2019 pricing sheet for driveway Holyoke School's Shamrocks Driveway fundraiser