If it’s the first Saturday in March in Alexandria, it’s time for the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the earliest such celebration in the U.S.
The weather did not dampen the spirits of those in attendance although the temperature dropped significantly from early in the week. The parade was preceded by the Antique Car Show and the Fun Dog Show. Winners of the Fun Dog Show were presented to parade watchers just before the first military units of the parade stepped off at 12:30 p.m.
The Ballyshaners, organizer of Alexandria's St. Patrick's Day Parade, selected Bill and Karen Butcher, founders of Port City Brewing Company, as the Grand Marshals of the 2017 St. Patrick's Day Parade. This will be the 36th parade that the organization has hosted in Old Town.
Bill Butcher is a fourth-generation Alexandrian and serves on the Board of Governors of Visit Alexandria. Karen is a Partner at Morgan Lewis, where she leads the global trademark, copyright and advertising practice. She also has enjoyed watching their boys participate in Alexandria Little League baseball over the last several years. Karen and Bill live in Rosemont with their two sons, Riley and Key. Bill noted, “Karen and I were thrilled to be asked to lead the Alexandria St. Patrick’s Day Parade. We have participated in the event for the last five years. Serving as Grand Marshals in our hometown is a terrific honor. It will be a great day.”
Bill Butcher began his career in the wine business working with Robert Mondavi Wine Company building world-class fine wine brands in the Mid-Atlantic market. As a longtime craft beer aficionado, Bill watched the craft beer business evolve, and become more like the fine wine business. It was this evolution that convinced him and Karen to start Port City Brewing Company in Alexandria in 2011, when there were no other packaging breweries in the DC area. Through their dedication to creating high quality products, Bill and Karen quickly established Port City Brewing as a quality leader in the D.C and Mid-Atlantic craft beer market. Port City Brewing has achieved national acclaim for its beers, including nine medals at The Great American Beer Festival, and being named Small Brewing Company of the Year in 2015.
The Ballyshaners is a non-profit, volunteer organization dedicated to promoting and preserving Irish history and culture. The parade is financed thru fundraising efforts and by support from the City of Alexandria.
St. Patrick's Day Parade 2017