Bay Ridge

Irish eyes are smiling on Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day parades

March 16, 2015 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Bagpipe bands are always a big part of the Bay Ridge Saint Patrick's Day Parade and organizers say they will play a major role in this year’s march. Eagle file photo by Paula Katinas

Manhattan boasts the biggest Saint Patrick’s Day Parade of them all on March 17, of course. But Brooklyn is showing that it’s no slouch when it comes to shamrocks. The borough hosts not one, but two grand parades honoring the patron saint of Ireland.

The 22nd Annual Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade is coming up this Sunday, March 22, on Third Avenue. On March 15, the Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade, held each year in Park Slope, celebrated its 40th anniversary.

The Bay Ridge parade steps off at 1 p.m. The route runs along Third Avenue from Marine Avenue to 67th Street. Expect plenty of bagpipe bands, high school marching bands, Irish step dancers, colorful floats and spectators lining the route wearing shamrock pins and waving Irish flags.

“We have more bands this year than we had last year. We have at least 14 or 15 bands,” Frankie Marra, president of the parade’s organizing committee, told the Brooklyn Eagle. “And we added a new float. We have a float that pays tribute to children with cancer.”

The grand marshal is Col. Joseph Davidson, the commanding officer of the U.S. Army Garrison at Fort Hamilton in Bay Ridge. “They don’t get any better than him. He served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Marra said.

The deputy grand marshals are: Colleen Golden, Eileen Brett, Marie Moloney, Jenny Nielsen, Michael Butler, Tom McCarthy, Mick Dorgan and Mark Langton.

By tradition, Parade Day always begins with a mass at 9: 30 a.m. St. Patrick Catholic Church at 9511 Fourth Ave. where the grand marshal and deputies receive a special blessing. Following the mass, the parade committee will host a VIP brunch at Hunter’s Steak and Ale House at 9404 Fourth Ave.

Then it’s time for the parade!

The Bay Ridge parade comes a week after the Brooklyn St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Park Slope.

Marking its 40th Anniversary this year, the Brooklyn parade was established in 1975. The parade route starts and ends at Prospect Park West and 15th Street.

The Parade Day tradition includes a morning mass at Holy Name of Jesus Church at 245 Prospect Park West. In recent years, the parade committee has also paid a pre-parade tribute to the heroes and victims of Sept. 11 in a special wreath laying ceremony at a war memorial at Bartel Pritchard Circle.

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