Sham Hock balloon will make a comeback at this year’s parade. (Courtesy photo)

The Ventura County St. Patrick’s Day Parade will follow a new route this year, moving west on Main Street toward downtown Ventura. The parade begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, March 12, in midtown, on Main at Lincoln Drive and ends seven blocks west, at North Fir Street.

With the new route, parade planners are urging spectators to follow the parade to the end, then keep on going. “Why not make a day of it?” said Nan Drake, parade spokeswoman and this year’s grand marshal.

“It would be great if everyone could just keep right on walking west on Main and on into our beautiful downtown area,” Drake said. “So many restaurants there are helping to sponsor our parade, we’d love it if folks thanked them with a meal or a drink.”

Among this year’s parade sponsors are Dargan’s, The Saloon, Busy Bee Café, and a Bar Called Country.

For more than a year, downtown Main Street, from Fir west to Palm Street, has been cordoned off to car traffic, allowing visitors to walk in the middle of the street and dine al fresco.

Created during the pandemic, the vehicle-free zone has become an attraction itself, an area where people can shop, dine and pub-crawl in the safety of the outdoors.

This year’s parade lineup will include Sham Hock (aka Pig o’ My Heart), a giant green dirigible porker. Also joining in will be Irish Belle Annabella Nemo Page of Ventura.

And Drake will finally get to take her ride as the parade grand marshal. Originally scheduled to serve as grand marshal in 2020, she missed out when COVID-19 forced the last-minute cancellation of the 2020 parade, and it remained dark last year.

As a longtime co-chair of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade committee, and as the spokesperson for E.J. Harrison & Sons (a sponsor since the parade’s inception in 1987), Drake said she is “extremely excited about this year’s parade theme: One World, One Air, We All Share.

“It’s a reminder that we can protect this world we share, by recycling everything possible and especially our food waste, which in the landfill emits highly toxic methane gases,” Drake said. “Harrison now collects food waste, bagged in residents’ yard waste carts, for recycling.

“I hope everyone is recycling their food waste — for the one world and the air we share.

“Remember, at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, we’re all Irish and we’re all green,” she said.

For more about the parade, visit Direct quetions about parade entries to committee members Aaron Gaston, 805-340-8217 or Dan McGrath, 805-231-2779.

For other parade information, contact Faye McDonald at or 805-650-0825; or call Jim Monahan, 805-340-1356.