In this March 16, 2014, file photo, sisters Sarah Earley, 9, (left) and Maggie, 11, march in the Irish American Club of Maine's annual St. Patrick's Day parade in Portland. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

Bagpipes are playing in the Old Port once again after nearly three long years with the return of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Just four days before the parade was supposed to happen in 2020, it was suddenly canceled because of COVID-19, a decision organizers called “gut wrenching.”

Last year, organizers held a virtual parade, which gathered 10,000 views on YouTube, but they said it’s just not the same as getting together in person.

“It’s absolutely wonderful. I mean a lot of these people are great friends. It’s always good to meet new people. And it’s just wonderful to be celebrating our Irish heritage,” said Mike Freethy, the president of the Irish-American Club of Maine.

About 35 groups took part in the parade. They marched on Commercial Street from the Portland Fish Pier down to Bell Buoy Park.