SPARTA, NJ - About 125 gathered on Saturday night at the Lake Mohawk Country Club, to celebrate the appointment of the Sussex County St. Patrick's Day Parade Grand Marshals.
Typically, there is one grand marshal for the parade annually, however, Dennis Harrington, parade committee chair, said it was a tie for this years' choices.
"This year, we decided to honor all three," said Harrington.
The Sullivans' had owned Sullivan's Gaslight Inn, formerly in Franklin. They live in Lake Glenwood section of Vernon Township.
Harrington said, "They used to run the St. Patrick's Day Parade in the 80's. They had a 10-year run."
Harrington said after conversations with the Sullivans', the parade was brought back to life in Sussex County. The first year, 2003, the parade was in Sparta, the next year in Franklin.
"The concept was to move it around," Harrington said.
However, once the parade arrived to Newton, the parade and the municipality, the committee found, were a perfect fit, and the parade has since remained in Newton annually.
"It's [Newton] the ideal parade location," Harrington continued. "It's the county seat. It's a good venue."
Each year, the grand marshals choose charities as beneficiaries. A tricky tray at the dinner on Saturday, helped to benefit these organizations. The organizations this year are: the Partnership for Social Services, and the Sunrise House Foundation.
Delaney spent some time during the festivities, to speak with The Alternative Press. Delaney is the Operations Manager of the Minisink Press, Inc., in Newton. She is also a past president of the Greater Newton Chamber of Commerce, and a resident of Stillwater.
"I love Sussex County, I love this community," Delaney said. "They surprised me with this honor. I'm very honored to be a grand marshal."
Harrington also gave a special thanks to the Lake Mohawk Country Club, and Director of Food and Beverage, Larry Patton.
"We've been working with Larry the last eight years," he said.
Attendees at the event were treated to a preview of what parade spectators will see on March 16, when the parade kicks off officially. Two bagpipers escorted in a procession of people into the country club's ballroom including the grand marshals, flag bearers, and colorfully costumed young dancers from the Endean Academy of Irish Dance of Succasunna.
Glen Vetrano, who was the 2007 grand marshal, was one of the emcees for the evening. He introduced Paul Crowley, Mayor of Franklin Borough, who, after the pipers played, led the guests in a flag salute.
The dancers from the Endean Academy of Dance, then captured the audience with several energetic dance routines. Their dance instructor, and dance academy owner Emily Endean, had been a dancer with "Riverdance."
Click below for a video of one of the dances:
During the evening after dinner, the grand marshals were honored, with proclamations from the Vernon Township for the Sullivans', and from the Town of Newton for Delaney. Each grand marshal received their sash from past grand marshals, including Peggy Cofrancesco, who was the 2012 Grand Marshal.
Sussex County St. Patrick's Day Parade sponsors this year are: The Irish Cottage Inn, Lakeland Bank, PSE&G, The Great Divide Campground, and Braen Aggregates.
The next event for the Sussex County St. Patrick's Day Parade, will be on March 2, when the committee hosts a mass and Irish breakfast. The mass is at St. Jude the Apostle Church in Hamburg at 8:30 a.m., and the breakfast at 10 a.m. at the Irish Cottage Inn. Tickets are $14, and must be purchased no later than Feb. 25 (no tickets are available at the door). Call Dennis or Mary Harrington at: (973) 827-9179
, or visit the organization's website
, for more information.
Editor's Note: Click on the TAP YouTube Channel to view a second video of the Endean Academy of Dance dancers.