Bay Ridge celebrates 25th Saint Patrick’s Day parade

It was another successful, albeit chilly, celebration as the 25th annual Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Parade made its way through the nabe.

Marchers and bystanders gathered on Third Avenue on Sunday, March 25 to cap off the holiday.

The day was fabulous,” said President of the Bay Ridge Saint Patrick’s Day Parade Committee Linda Gallagher-Lomanto. “We probably had the largest amount of marchers and spectators in the last couple of years. It was a little chilly but other than that, it was a fantastic day overall. The committee and I were very happy with the outcome of the parade on Sunday.”

Favorite traditions returned including 20 marching bands from schools all over the borough, Staten Island, Manhattan and New Jersey. Local canine favorite and mascot of the day, labradoodle Seamus, was also a big hit.

“We had a lot of the different organizations and marching bands, pipers,” Gallagher-Lomanto said. “The floats are always a big hit for everyone, from the education floats to the Hibernian floats to the Irish family of the year, the Longs. All along Third Avenue, every street looked packed. That is our ultimate goal — to get as many people as possible out there watching the parade.”

The grand marshal was Martin Cottingham, president of the Irish American Building Society, which hosts the Great Irish Fair.

Also marching the parade was Cancer Can’t Kill Love, an organization founded by the Home Reporter‘s own Meaghan McGoldrick who lost both of her parents to cancer, and raises funds each year to help fight the disease.

The party didn’t stop with the parade, according to Gallagher-Lomanto.

“I heard from a lot of people that after the parade, they went to local establishments, pubs or restaurants, and some of the schools had parties afterwards,” she said. “I also heard them say that it was a great day so that makes all the hard work put into it worth it.”

People even came from far away.

“I saw some people from New Jersey and Connecticut who came for the day for family and friends who were being honored,” she added. “They grew up here. It’s an annual tradition for them to come back to see this local parade.”

Although there are several parades around the tri-state area that mark the holiday, the neighborhood feel continues to make Bay Ridge’s tradition special.

“It’s one more thing in a huge list of things that make Bay Ridge special in its little neighborhood in the big city. It’s going up to the avenues with your neighbors, and sitting down and talking and celebrating,” she said. “It’s different from any other neighborhood where you don’t have that camaraderie or that neighborhood feel. I just want to thank every single one of the parade committee members. We are a volunteer-based committee and we meet 12 month out of the year to plan this. Without them, the parade wouldn’t be possible.”

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