BAYONNE, NJ - Bayonne’s still strong Irish community came together on Friday to raise the tricolour over city hall in commemoration of St. Patrick’s Day, the celebration of their ancestoral nation’s patron saint.
The event kicked off several weeks of celebrations that will culminate with the city’s 38th annual St. Patrick’s Day parade that will march down Broadway from 5th Avenue beginning at 1:00 p.m. on March 17. The parade, organizers said, will be followed by a celebration in the gym at St. Andrews School beginning at 2:30 p.m. The post parade party is just $10 and includes music by the Bantry Boys, food and beverages. Children under 12 are free.
Introducing this year’s Grand Marshal and her delegation of aides was parade coordinator Gabriella Figueroa who said that while St. Patrick’s Day may be just one day a year she believes that many of what have been termed the Global Irish keep their Irish heritage on display 365 days a year. The flag raising, and other commemorations, is “a reminder to the rest of the city.”
Mayor James Davis and Council President Sharon Ashe-Nadrowski were both on hand to declare the day Parade Aide Day in the city and to present those that will assist Grand Marshal Bridget Antczak in her duties as she leads the march with ceremonial resolutions.
In Bayonne, Davis joked, St. Patrick’s Day has turned into St. Patrick’s month, a fact that he also celebrates based on the contributions the large Diaspora has made on the community through the generations.
“Like so many other groups the Irish came to the United States in search of new opportunities,” Davis told TAPinto Bayonne. “It’s impossible to find any segment of the community Irish haven’t positively impacted, and it’s those contributions we celebrate every March.”
“Everyone claims Irishness on St. Patrick’s Day,” Antczak told the audience during her comments. Asked later why she thinks this is the case the long time Bayonne resident said that she believes other ethnic groups see the pride that the Irish have in their accomplishments and contributions. “The Irish were one of the first large immigrant groups to come to America, to really start at the bottom and grow."
“There is camaraderie in being Irish, others see that and want to be part of it,” Antczak added. “There is just something special about being Irish.”
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