What a beautiful day for a parade! The skies are clear and the temperature is up and starting at 11 a.m. an estimated 200,000 marchers are expected to walk behind grand marshal Mary Higgins Clark, Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly from 44th Street to 79th Street in the 250th annual St. Patrick's Day parade (it won't be going up to 86th because of budget cuts). Thanks to the warm weather millions of people are expected to watch the parade in person, on WNBC or streaming online here.

Not that everyone is happy about the parade. The group Irish Queers, angry that gay groups are still verboten in the annual march in honor of the Catholic saint, is holding a protest on Fifth Avenue between 56th and 57th Streets from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.. This year they are specifically calling out Ray Kelly and the NYPD for their involvement contending that "NYPD participation in such a parade is a violation of New York City's human rights code."

Are you going to play hookie for the parade? Or just planning on barhopping like an "inebriated Irish" in a "Kiss Me I'm Irish" shirt? Don't forget to take photos and send them our way, either to photos@gothamist.com or by tagging them "Gothamist" on Flickr!