The Belmar St. Patrick's Day parade is an annual tradition that for me is one of the first true early signs of Spring.

Are you ready for this weekend's festivities?

The 2013 Belmar St. Patrick's Day parade kicks off on Main St. at 22nd Ave. in Lake Como at 12:30pm on Sunday, March 3rd.

It usually rolls for about three hours with marching bands, floats, and of course, you have to be on the lookout for the Point Crew!

The trick to surviving the parade is really all in the planning.

Belmar St. Patrick's Day Parade
Flickr user Sister72

If you're planning to drive into Belmar, you want to get there a few hours early, because local police start closing Main St. (and all the surrounding intersections) at around 10 a.m.

I find the better spots for watching with the kids are between 10th and 11th Ave. (right in front of Belmar Elementary) because there's the big open field if they get bored and want to run around and play, plus the Dunkin Donuts is close by for snacks/potty breaks. (Then of course you're surrounded by a dozen great restaurants for post-parade lunch!)

Bring chairs and some cash for those vendors who will invariably cause your child to beg for a green feather boa, Shamrock sunglasses, and a hot pretzel.

Don't forget that Belmar Tourism is holding 'Patrick's Party' under the tent in Belmar Plaza (9th and Main St.) with food, games, face painting, balloons, and drinks for the adults.

For the 21+ party types, anywhere from 16th - 18th Ave. is where it's at. That tends to be the rowdiest section, with close proximity to Bar A for the after party. (Equally good times can be had at Boathouse, Connolly Station, Nicchio, and D'Jais on Sunday, but I'm pretty partial to Bar A for St. Paddy's.)

NJ Transit is running extra trains between Long Branch and Bay Head on Sunday, with hourly service running for most of the day, which might be easier than dealing with car traffic.

This year's parade is expected to be bigger than ever, so plan for massive crowds. Cell phone service might get slow, so have a meet-up point ahead of time if you get separated from your group.

We should have some sunshine with a high of 43 on Sunday, so dress in layers!

Most of all, be safe, and have fun!

If you can't make it out to Main St. on Sunday, you can watch the parade online HERE.

Where's your favorite spot for the Belmar St. Patrick's Day Parade? Tell us in the comment section below!

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