ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — Hundreds braved the chill for the annual St. Patrick’s Day parade hosted by Freedom First bank in downtown Roanoke on Saturday. People flooded the streets sporting their best greens to watch performances by local bands and organizations.

Community members of all ages came out to witness their favorite parts of the St. Patrick’s day parade.

“I like the princesses, I like when they throw the candy– or the big flag they hold out,” said parade-goers.

“Clowns doing their little circles on their dirt bikes it was so cool and I wanted to jump in,” added another group.

Assistant General Manager of 202 Social House, Alex Marks says parade day plays a big role in their business.

“By far our busiest day of the year, yeah, I don’t know if other restaurants can say the same, but I think just with the volume of food and the drinks that we put out for everybody and the space we have within our building, and then just the atmosphere,” said Marks.

Marks says it’s all hands on deck when preparing for parade day.

“I was here until 4 a.m., came back at about 9 a.m., so we had a lot going on we moved tables we moved chairs, we make sure there’s space for everybody so we can fit as many people in as we can,” said Marks.

This year they started seeing traffic early in the morning as the cold weather drew more people into the restaurant to watch the parade.

“We had a lot of customers in there early who were here to be able to see the parade out our windows,” said Marks.

He says the staff had to prepare for crowds from open to close, adding that normally they see more visitors when the parade is over.

“We usually get a rush right after the parade,” said Marks.

After the parade wrapped up the Freedom First Shamrock Festival was just getting started, and people (sham)rocked out to music and enjoyed good food and drinks. Community members say they are already getting excited about the 2024 downtown Roanoke St. Patrick’s Day parade.