By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
It’ll be double the amount of fun!
Brooklyn will play host to two big parades in honor of Saint Patrick’s Day.
Park Slope and Bay Ridge are gearing up for the marches. The 38th Annual Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Parade will take place this Sunday, St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, in Park Slope starting at 1 p.m. A week from this Sunday, on March 24, the 20th Annual Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Parade will be held at 1 p.m.
First up is the Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Parade, a proud tradition in the Park Slope community. The parade starts at 15th Street and Prospect Park West. The reviewing stand, where dignitaries will watch the parade, will be located at Bartel Pritchard Circle (Prospect Park West and 14th Street).
Leading the marchers this year is the grand marshal, Robert O’Hare, the pipe major of the Clann Eireann Pipe band. “He has been marching in our parade since its inception,” said Kathleen McDonagh, a member of the parade committee. McDonagh is an original committee member, one of a group of Park Slope civic leaders who banded together to organize the parade back in the 1970s.
The theme of this year’s parade is “The Gathering: Ireland 2013 and the Year of Faith.” The committee wanted to pay tribute to the Irish immigrants who have enriched Brooklyn with their culture over the past 150 years “and the faith that brought them here,” McDonagh said.
The parade committee will also pay tribute to the 175th anniversary of the founding of Green-Wood Cemetery.
The aides, or deputies, to the grand marshal are: Michael Carolan, Rose Marie Coulson, John Houlihan, Mary Lennon, Michael McMahon, Noreen O’Donnell Mills, Frank Thompson, and Bridie Tully.
“A lot of people come back to Brooklyn for the parade,” said Kevin Peter Carroll, a member of the parade committee. For Carroll, who helps set up the parade and marches in it every year, the event is a family tradition. “My grandfather was one of the founding members,” he said. John Carroll was part of a group of Park Slope community leaders who banded together in the 1970s to organize the parade in tribute to St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
The parade is the highlight of a busy day in Park Slope. The day starts off with a mass at Holy Name Catholic Church at 245 Prospect Park West. The celebrant will be Bishop Joseph Sullivan. At noon, there will be a tribute in front of the reviewing stand to Irish veterans of the Korean War. The parade committee will also hold a brief ceremony at the reviewing stand in tribute to Sept. 11 victims at 12:45 p.m.
“It’s always a great day,” McDonagh said. “We keep the Irish culture alive,” she said.
For more information, visit the committee’s website.
On March 24, it’s time for Bay Ridge to shine as the community presents its St. Patrick’s Parade.
The parade committee, headed by Frankie Marra and Linda Gallagher, has made some changes this year. The parade, which was held for many years on Fifth Avenue, will take place instead on Third Avenue. The participants will march from Marine Avenue to 67th Street. The reviewing stand will be located in front of the Verizon building on the corner of Third Avenue and 77th Street. Peter Clavin will serve as the parade MC, announcing the names of the bands and dancing troupes as they pass the reviewing stand.
The grand marshal is Sister Virginia Lake, institutional advancement director at Bishop Kearney High School, a Catholic high school for girls in Bensonhurst. Gallagher said the committee chose Lake because of the role she has played in the education of young women in Brooklyn for more than 30 years. “She’s everything a woman should be. She’s a great role model. She touched the lives of many young women in Brooklyn. She has been a great inspiration to young women,” Gallagher said.
The deputy grand marshals are: Marianna Murray O’Connor, Tom MacLellan, Eileen Long-Chelales, Karen Hennigan, Christine Doherty, Chris Coughlin, Edna Lally and James Quigley.
“We’re hoping this is going to be one of our biggest and best parades yet,” Gallagher said. “We have 11 pipe bands coming. We reached out to community members who might not have marched in the parade before and invited them to take part. There are a lot of schools and organizations marching this year. And we expect Bishop Kearney to have a big group because of Sister Virginia,” she said.
If any groups wish to take part in the parade, Gallagher advised that they come to the corner of Third and Marine avenues, where the parade formation takes place, at 12:30 p.m.
For more information, visit the committee’s Facebook page.