As a city with deep Scottish (and Presbyterian) roots, Charlotte didn’t have its first official St. Patrick’s Day Parade until this day 65 years ago - and it was all thanks to an impulsive on-air idea from one of the city’s greatest media personalities.
Grady Cole, WBT Radio's legendary broadcaster, came up with the idea for the parade during his morning radio show the day before St. Patrick's Day. With no floats, no permits, and no planning, Cole welcomed all of Charlotte to join in, saying, “Everyone’s got a little Irish in them. So everyone’s invited to march.” The next day, an estimated 180 Charlotteans joined Cole, Harry Golden, the publisher of the Carolina Israelite, and several Catholic priests as they marched down Tryon Street in the city’s first St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
’Twas St. Patrick’s Day, Begorra, In New York—And Charlotte, Too!, Charlotte Observer, March 18, 1956: 1. NewsBank.
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Information taken from:
UNC Charlotte Special Collections on Instagram: @unccspeccoll
“We have to do with the past only as we can make it useful to the present and the future.” – Frederick Douglass