SAN FRANCISCO—Thousands showed up on Saturday, March 17 to celebrate San Francisco’s 167th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade that kicked off on 2nd and Market Streets at about 11:30 a.m. Organizers of the festivities reported that the city’s parade is significant because it is the largest celebration west of the Mississippi River.

The parade was led by the Irish Pipers of San Francisco, who played their bagpipes as the United Irish Society followed suit. The United Irish Society is comprised of men and women whom carried 36 flags that represented the 32 counties of Ireland along with its four provinces.

The parade started at 2nd and Market Streets, taking performers through Union Street and through the Civic Center.

Participants were encouraged to utilize BART for transportation throughout the day. According to reports, the parade consisted of 128 floats this year that drew roughly 5,000 attendees. Floats included Grand Marshall Bill Welch, who is also the owner of Duggan Welch Mortuary on 17th Street.

San Francisco Mayor Mark Farrell saluted the crowd during the festivities. “We are an immigrant story, as a community here in San Francisco, and we’re here to celebrate our heritage,” said Farrell.