Longstanding San Francisco St. Patrick's Day celebration back in full force

A long-standing St. Patrick's Day celebration in San Francisco resumed in full force for the first time in two years due to the pandemic.

Organizers said it's a gathering that draws people, especially families, from all across the Bay Area.

At the United Irish Cultural Center, there is an extra bounce in the step of the dancers during this first full-blown St Patrick's Day celebration since 2020.

"It's something I really love. So for me to pass it on to people, it's really exciting and cool that I get to do," said 16-year-old Claire Donohue, an Irish dancer.  

Passion and pride in their Irish heritage in the sea of green made up of people of all ages.

"It's a great day to celebrate our heritage.  All of the things the Irish immigrants overcame to get here, how successful we've been," said Jeanine Donohue.

Hundreds came to the center for this day-long celebration.  The traditional fare of corned beef and cabbage was served.

Fret and Fiddle, a blend of Irish and Scottish musicians played traditional  music.

Organizers said the center started hosting a St Patrick's Day celebration here 47 years ago in 1975.    

"This is the day to be Irish for sure.  I feel like everybody's Irish today," said Ryan Hicks, an Irish American.  

Some folks expressed hesitation over gathering with so many people.  But in the end, the need to celebrate won out.

"You can be outside depending on how you want to celebrate," said Whitney Hicks, "We're all ready to continue to celebrate our culture, our lives, celebrate being here."

Dance and music an integral part of this celebration. 

SEE ALSO: St. Patrick's Day crowd returns to The Starry Plough in Berkeley

"It goes back generations. They really go hand in hand.  It always brings the crowd together, families together," said Eileen Mize, member and volunteer with United Irish Cultural Center.

This day was about people coming back together.  Many said this was their first time with family and friends after two years apart.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at Amber.Lee@Fox.com or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU or Twitter @AmberKTVU