Cleveland St. Patrick's Day Parade will step off an hour later this year

Social media to help parade security

CLEVELAND - The 2013 Cleveland St. Patrick's Day Parade will start at 2:04 p.m., and hour later than the traditional step off time.

"Because it's a Sunday," said parade director Pat Murphy. "On Sunday, we have masses that let out at 1 o'clock, the noon mass. It gives people time to get down here and get ready."

According to city officials, more than 300,000 people are expected to turn out for this year's parade. Even more will be downtown due to a Lake Erie Monsters hockey game, the end of the MAC college basketball tournament and the Horseshoe Casino.

Cleveland police said all those people will have a new way of keeping informed about public safety, parking and road closures on St. Patrick's Day. Police have set up a special Twitter feed, and are inviting the public to monitor and contribute.

"We're going to be live-tweeting during the event," said Jennifer Ciaccia, public information officer for the Cleveland Division of Police. "You can follow us at #CLEStPats."

Authorities are urging anyone attending the parade to arrive early, and remind anyone drinking alcohol to designate a sober driver, take a cab or use public transportation.

Mary Shaffer, a Regional Transit Authority Spokesperson, said St. Patrick's Day is the single largest special event for the transit system each year. Last year, more than 100,000 people used the system's busses and trains on March 17, which was a Saturday.

Shaffer suggested riders avoid the rush of passengers immediately before and after the parade by spending more time downtown.

"We want to spread out those crowds," Shaffer said. "Come early... And when the parade is over, relax and enjoy downtown for a little while."

For all the details and information regarding this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade, click on the following link: www.stpatricksdaycleveland.com

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