BAYONNE, NJ - Irish eyes will be smiling on Sunday.
The St. Patrick’s Day parade, Bayonne’s 38th annual, will step off at Broadway and 5th Street, proceed north before it turns left onto 39th Street, head right on Avenue C past reviewing stands at 40th Street and Avenue C, and end in Stephen R. Gregg Park.
The parade, organizers said, will be followed by a celebration in the gym at St. Andrew's 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.
On Saturday Mayor Jimmy Davis sent out an email to residents reminding them of parking restrictions along the parade route:
Bayonne’s Office of Emergency Management reminds residents that due to the St. Patrick’s Day Parade parking will be prohibited on Broadway between 5th Street and 39th Street starting at 9:00 a.m. Sunday. Cars parked after this time are subject to being towed.
Vehicle owners should also follow additional posted parking restrictions at both the beginning and the end of the parade route.
In a March 1 City Hall ceremony introducing Bridget Antczak as this year’s grand marshal, Gabriella Figueroa, parade coordinator, 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 parade, flag raising, and other commemorations, are “a reminder to the rest of the city.”
In Bayonne, Mayor 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 at the ceremony. 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.