HAMBURG, NJ – Saturday night, the Irish Cottage Inn in Hamburg, hosted an Irish Festival in its own right, the “Halfway to St. Patty's Day Celebration.” Members of the Morris County Police Pipes and Drums, led by a swath of Irish youth, marched in “their self-proclaimed World’s Shortest Parade,” announced Sussex County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee Chair Dennis Harrington, “Fifty two feet from the street to the stage area.”
They ushered in the announcement of the 2013 Sussex County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Co-Grand Marshals. After a set of Irish and patriotic music, Harrington announced that Mr. and Mrs. John Sullivan, of Lake Glenwood, and Dawn Delaney, of Stillwater, would Co-Marshal next year’s parade.
Past Grand Marshals including Peggy Cofrancesco, Ailish Hambel, Ginnie Littell, as well as Peter Slattery and Damien Ryan, two of the owners of the Irish Cottage Inn, were on hand to congratulate and welcome the new appointees.
The Sullivan’s are the former owners of Sullivan’s Gaslight Inn, which was located in Franklin, NJ.
“We moved up here in 1980, and John and I bought the Village Inn, and opened it up as Sullivan's Gaslight Inn," said Suzanne Sullivan.
They sold the restaurant to TD Bank in 2007, due to John's health problems.
“We ran the restaurant for twenty-seven years. We had Irish music almost every weekend. We used to bring over entertainers from Ireland for St. Patrick’s Day. That was when things were very tough in Europe, the dollar was strong and it was very hard to find work. We paid for their trip. They were happy to have work and a place to stay,” reminisced John Sullivan.
Along with the restaurant, Suzanne Sullivan ran Gaslight Travel Agency, which handled many large accounts in Sussex County. The tragedy of 9/11 badly hurt that business.
The Sullivans started an Irish Association soon after they opened up. That group started the first St. Patrick’s Parade in Sussex County. It ran for seven years in Franklin. John Sullivan recalls that before the parade, he and friend Bobby O'Hara painted a green line from the Franklin Borough Hall on Main Street, down Rutherford and across to his restaurant.
"Bobby drove the truck, shining the light on the road ahead of him. I went before him with a two-by-four, painting the line," said Sullivan. "In those days, no one was out on the street at night."
Although the Borough sanctioned him, they repeated the prank the following year. Finally, the town allowed the green line to be painted, and eventually, that became the parade route. "We had a crowd right from the beginning," he recalls.
Because of the mining industry, this area had several waves of immigrants who relocated here. The Irish group was responsible for many street names, such as Cork Hill. When the mines slowed down and closed, many of this group relocated to Wilkes Barre, PA, for work.
When the other Co-Grand Marshal Dawn Delaney married her husband, she began working at his family’s business, Minisink Press, in the lower level of Hayek’s Market at 2 Water Street, Newton. The company was established 53 years ago by her father-in-law.
“Mr. Wayne McCabe was persistent in getting my husband or I involved with the local businesses. We joined the Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce,” said Delaney. “I sat on the board for twelve years, and was president for two years. When the parade needed a new location, we worked to get Newton to agree to let them use Spring Street. It’s been going ever since. I’ve always been involved with the committee. Being in the printing business, I took care of the programs.”
“The Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce has always had a float in the parade. My children rode on it,” continued Delaney.
“Serving the community is a wonderful thing. It’s very near and dear to me. I’ve had the opportunity to meet a lot of wonderful people who are constantly doing good all the time,” she smiled.
Mr. Sullivan gave his prediction about the well being of Sussex County for the future. “This is the area to be in today. Things are happening here. It will all come together.”
The Morris County Police Pipes and Drums Corps is comprised of police officers and firefighters from Morris, Sussex and Passaic counties. They march in the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Newton, Morristown, Hackettstown, Goshen and Stroudsburg, Pa. Last year, in Goshen, they won first prize for the “Best Musical Unit.”
They will be marching in the Sussex County Firemen’s Parade, held in Ogdensburg, on October 6, at 1:00pm. They will be marching for the Newton Fire Department.
Also on hand to join the festivities were Allison Littell McHose, NJ Assemblywoman (R-24), and Gail Phoebus, Deputy Mayor of Andover Township.