By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Everyone is Irish on Saint Patrick’s Day, but in Bay Ridge, people get to enjoy being Irish for a couple of weeks!
The Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Parade, traditionally held on the fourth Sunday of March as to not interfere with the big parade in Manhattan on March 17, went of without a hitch on March 23, as thousands of spectators lined Third Avenue to enjoy the bagpipe bands, the Irish step dancers and for the first time this year, parade floats.
This year marked the 21st Annual Bay Ridge St. Patrick Parade and the floats were introduced to add to the excitement of the day, according to Frankie Marra, president of the parade committee. “If it works out, and we get more sponsors for the floats, we’ll have more of them in next year’s parade,” Marra told the Brooklyn Eagle. One float was dedicated to Catholic education. Dozens of Catholic school kids were riding on the float and having a ball waving at the spectators below.
The parade route ran along Third Avenue from Marine Avenue to 67th Street, a distance of about 30 blocks.
Leading the marchers up Third Avenue was the 2014 Grand Marshal, Chief Joseph Fox, commander of the New York Police Department’s Transit Bureau. Fox drew lots of cheers from spectators as he proudly marched up the avenue. The deputy grand marshals were Mary Kae Higgins, Brian Cassidy, Denise Benardello-Frederick, Kevin Fay, Catherine Toolan Gearity, Cathy Harkin and Dan Woods.
The day’s festivities began with a mass at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Bay Ridge at 9:30 a.m., followed by a pre-parade brunch at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House across the street from the church.
Marra, who is well known in Bay Ridge as a musician who performs at various restaurants and pubs around southern Brooklyn, has been on the parade committee for three years. “This parade keeps getting better and better,” he said.