Thousands celebrate 55th annual St. Patrick's Parade in Detroit

Parade honors slain West Bloomfield officer Patrick O'Rourke


DETROIT – The 55th annual Detroit St. Patrick's Parade kicked off Sunday at 2 p.m. in Corktown.

The theme for this year's parade was Detroit Irish: Proud of Homeland, Heritage and Heroes.

WATCH: Uncut video from Sunday's parade.

The parade, sponsored by the United Irish Societies, started on Sixth Street and moved onto Michigan Avenue, then 14th Street.

Corktown History:

Irish were once the largest ethnic group of newcomers to Detroit, according to the parade's website.

Corktown got its name from County Cork, Ireland, where a majority of Detroit's Irish immigrants originated from.

The area is now Detroit's oldest surviving neighborhood. 

Prior to the parade runners made their way down Michigan Avenue for the annual Corktown 5K Race.

Patrick O'Rourke
Patrick O'Rourke

~Officer Patrick O'Rourke~

In line with the theme, slain West Bloomfield officer Patrick O'Rourke was honored.

O'Rourke was killed Sept. 2012 after responding to a 911 call at the home of Ricky Coley.

Family members of the fallen officer walked in Sunday's parade.

MORE: Detroit's St. Patrick's Parade celebrates Irish culture