The 14th Annual Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade will step off on Morris Avenue in Union, NJ on Saturday, March 13 at 1:00 p.m. sharp with tens of thousands of marchers and spectators gathering to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland.
This year's Grand Marshal, Sister Marion Scranton, a Sister of Charity, will lead the march of bagpipe and high school bands, local police and fire department units, veterans groups, floats and many more organizations through the center of Union.
"I am certainly humbled and honored to have been chosen to be Grand Marshal," said Sister Marion. "My parents fostered in us a love and pride of all things Irish."
The Irish American Society of Union nominated Sister Marion for Grand Marshal and she was elected unanimously by parade officers and representatives of member organizations.
Sister Marion is well known for her outstanding work in education as a teacher and principal, as well as for her ministry, community outreach and her volunteerism. She is currently Director of Community Initiatives for the Trinitas Regional Medical Center in Elizabeth.
Sister Marion traces her Irish roots to County Leitrim in the Midwest of Ireland. She has visited the Emerald Isle several times and studied at All Hallows in Dublin for Sabbatical in 1999.
Thanks to the efforts of the Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee working behind the scenes year-round, the Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade has grown from drawing 10,000 spectators during its inaugural run in 1997 to more than 40,000 on-lookers last year.
"We are looking forward to another brilliant parade celebrating St. Patrick and our Irish heritage," said Jim Lowney, the General Chairman of the 2010 Parade.
This year's parade is dedicated to all those serving in the U.S. Armed Forces, their families and to all our nation's veterans.
In keeping with a parade tradition, the Union County Emerald Society will host officials from Shannon, Ireland including Mayor Sean McLoughlin, his wife Catherine and the Shannon Town Clerk Liam O'Connor. This will be the 14th year Shannon officials will march in the Union County celebration of St. Patrick.
For the first time a New Jersey Rose of Tralee will be marching in the parade. Twenty-three-year-old Genevieve O'Reilly, who represented New Jersey at the International Rose of Tralee Festival in County Kerry, Ireland last August, will be out on the parade route.
According to Parade Adjutant Kelly Anne Scanlon, who also coordinates parade logistics with the Township of Union, the 2010 Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade will feature high school marching bands from the Township of Union and City of Elizabeth and bagpipe bands including the Union County Police & Fire Pipes & Drums and the St. Columcille United Gaelic Pipe Band. Also marching will be Fourth Degree color guards from the Knights of Columbus, non-profit units, local police and fire departments and floats provided by the Center for Hope Hospice and the Garden State Ceili Club.
A Mass will be celebrated at St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Elizabeth at 9 a.m. to begin the day followed by a welcoming reception in the church hall. St. Patrick's Church is located at 215 Court Street in Elizabeth, NJ 07206.
The family-friendly festivities kick off at 12 noon at the reviewing stand located at the corner of Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues in Union Center with a warm Irish welcome from parade officials, traditional Irish music and Irish step-dancing. The one-mile parade will begin at 1 p.m. at Commerce Street and Morris Avenue, proceeding east on Morris Avenue to Union Center and south onto Stuyvesant Avenue, ending at Roosevelt Avenue.
Again this year, the parade will feature a Kid Zone presented by the Union Special Improvement District. The Kid Zone will feature inflatable rides, walk-around entertainers and activities for the whole family. Located on Stuyvesant and Morris Avenues, the Kid Zone brings additional amusement for young visitors, as well as the young-at-heart. The following organizations make up the Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee: The John Cryan Association, The Thornsticks, The Irish-American Society of Union, The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Union County, the Joseph Nugent Sr. Association, the Ancient Order of Hibernians of Rahway, the Union County Emerald Society, the Sheridan School of Irish Dance and the Union County Irish-American Association, the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians of Elizabeth, the Garden State Ceili Club, St. Helen's R.C. Church, St. John the Apostle, St. Columcille Pipes & Drums, Knights of Columbus Council 253 in Elizabeth, Union County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, Knights of Columbus Council 4504 in Union, Molly Maguire's Pub, the Blackthorn Pub and the Church of the Little Flower in Berkeley Heights.
For more information about the Union County St. Patrick's Day Parade please visit www.unioncountystpatricksdayparade.com