The 79th Annual Huntington St. Patrick's Day parade, Long Island's oldest and largest, returns to Main Street Sunday at 2 p.m. The parade kicks off just north of the Huntington Train Station along New York Avenue before turning west onto Main Street ending at St. Patrick's Church.
This year's grand marshall is Andrew Lawrence. Lawrence is a local attorney and lifelong resident of Huntington. He has been a long time supporter of numerous social and charitable events helping to make Huntington a better community
The Huntington St. Patrick's Day parade got its start during the Great Depression. Seventy nine years later, thanks to the Huntington Ancient Order of Hibernians, residents continue to come together to celebrate the unofficial start of spring on the second Sunday of March.
The parade has grown to become the oldest and largest on Long Island. Each year, up to 50,000 current and former residents jam pack Huntington Village for this wonderful family and community event. More important than ever, the parade is also a tremendous catalyst to the local Huntington economy, with spectators packing the local restaurants, shops, and pubs. With the current rough economic times, "buying local" not only feels good; it helps all of us.
The core of the parade is of course the bagpipe bands, and no parade on Long Island can match the Huntington's line-up with bands from all over the island. This year the parade will include over 25 marching bands.
The Huntington Ancient Order of Hibernians will once again, as is this their custom, march dressed in their distinctive gray morning suit tuxedos.
"We take a great deal of pride in putting on the Parade," said AOH Past President Dominick Feeney, Jr., whose grandfather was a founding father of the current Huntington AOH. "We work hard to make sure the Saint Patrick's Day Parade is a wonderful Huntington community event."
AOH Treasurer Rich McGrath added, "Many residents mistakenly think the town sponsors the parade each year, but in truth it's actually the Hibernians who organize, promote, run and raise the money needed to pay for all the expenses associated with putting on this spectacular parade. Each year, the Hibernians go door to door soliciting donations from local businesses for advertisements which appear in this special St. Patrick's Day Parade edition of the Long Islander and Record. It is these generous ad sponsors that enable us to run the parade, so we hope folks support their businesses."