York St. Patrick’s Day Parade sponsor and 2013 Grand Marshal Bryan Tate works with Balloons Instead owner Pat Wilson while making a balloon column at
York St. Patrick's Day Parade sponsor and 2013 Grand Marshal Bryan Tate works with Balloons Instead owner Pat Wilson while making a balloon column at the parade headquarters on Continental Square Tuesday. yorksaintpatricksdayparade.org/p/about.html BILL KALINA-bkalina@yorkdispatch.com (BILL KALINA — bkalina@yorkdispatch.com)

Some situations call for spontaneity.

That will be the case for the York High Alumni Band on Saturday: There's no telling which members will show up to play in the York St. Patrick's Day Parade, said band co-chairman Jill Fritz.

"We're kind of a luck-of-the-draw kind of band," she said.

The band, which pulls together alumni from 1950 through last year's graduating class, has been together since 1976, said Fritz, a majorette.

"It's a melting pot of all walks of life and all ages," she said.

The parade: The band has performed in the parade for 29 of its 31 years in existence, Fritz said.

"It's always a fun parade for us," she said.

The 31st annual parade will step off at 1 p.m. Saturday from Market and Penn streets before proceeding east on Market Street to Duke Street in York City.

About 90 entries are registered to participate in the parade this year, and the average number of entries is around 100, said Mary Yeaple, one of the organizers.

Last year, the parade fell on the same day as the Harrisburg St. Patrick's Day Parade, causing a few performers to choose to be in that parade instead.

And the weather was ugly, with sub-40-degree temperatures, rain, snow, sleet and hail throughout the day, which affected attendance and participation, Yeaple said. The year before, more than 10,000 people turned out for the parade on a day when the temperature approached 80 degrees, she said.

This year, forecasters are calling for a partly sunny parade day with highs in the mid 50s.

"We are hoping for a great crowd this year," Yeaple said.

Top honors: York's own Ni Riain School of Irish Dance took home Best of Parade honors last year.

"We were so excited," said Holly Lanteigne-Marrow, owner and director of the Springettsbury Township school.

With last year's weather, the dancers were cold but were able to warm up on a bus before the parade, she said.

"It was really a challenge, but it was also great memories," Lanteigne-Marrow said, as the girls all went out for hot chocolate afterward.

This is the group's fourth year participating in the parade, and about 45 dancers ranging in age from preschool to college will perform, she said.

The troupe will incorporate additional younger dancers this year as part of a new routine to a new song — but isn't concerned about winning new accolades, Lanteigne-Marrow said.

"Really, I just tell them to have a good time," she said.

Newcomers: The Irish Terrier Rescue Network entered the parade for the first time last year, said board member Diana Whitehead.

Although the weather wasn't great, the parade was still fun, and the crowd seemed very interested in the dogs, she said. The network is a nationwide rescue, with a local chapter in Laurel, Md.

"The idea is to raise awareness that rescue organizations exist," Whitehead said. "Our purpose is to make sure that every dog has a good life."

The network's parade entry will feature several Irish terriers that have been rescued and are now in their "forever homes," she said. The breed has a unique temperament: They're type-A dogs but very loyal and energetic, Whitehead said.

And for Martin Library in York City, this year marks the very first time it will be in the parade, said Laura O'Grady, youth services librarian.

"We realized we should be in the parade because we're such a fixture downtown," she said.

The Library Leprechauns, a group of library staff and supporters, will hand out free books, DVD coupons and library resources to attendees.

"Hopefully this is going to be the start of many years of participation," O'Grady said.

— Reach Mollie Durkin at mdurkin@yorkdispatch.com.