WEST ORANGE, NJ — Even a little wind, rain and chilly temperatures couldn’t dampen the spirits of the large crowd of spectators who cheered on the marchers and bands who participated in West Orange’s 68th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Sunday.

Winding their way up Main Street were dozens of bands, including marching bands from northern New Jersey high schools and numerous fife/pipe and drum corps from throughout the state. Waving proudly throughout were this year’s Grand Marshal Carol Sharkey Corcoran and Deputy Grand Marshals Carolyn Diver TorchiaJoseph Fagan and Terence McHugh. Click on their names to learn more about each honoree.

“The parade is an important part of our township’s history and a highly anticipated event each year,” said West Orange Mayor Robert Parisi. “March would not be the same without the parade. We are glad to assist the hardworking committee in bringing this celebration to our community and proud to join in celebrating the Irish culture.”

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The West Orange St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a township tradition dating back to 1954, making it the longest-running event in West Orange and one of the most highly anticipated events among the Irish community throughout the state.

It ultimately serves as a celebration of the Irish roots that helped to build West Orange, the Oranges, the Caldwells and the country. Those roots were apparent in the many Irish organizations and generations of families from the area that attended this weekend’s event.

Dozens of multicultural organizations were on hand to show appreciation and represent the newer face of the West Orange community, which now boasts 52 nationalities and languages.

“We are excited each year to be part of this important tradition and I am grateful to all the people that make it possible each year,” said Sheila Roth Parisi, chair of the parade committee. “The parade celebrates our Irish heritage but also honors the importance of family, friendships and faith. We are proud to carry on this tradition.”

The township turned out in force, featuring the mayor and township council members, the West Orange police and fire department members and various township commissions and groups. Making guest appearances were Gov. Phil Murphy and former governor Richard Codey, who is a former Grand Marshal for the West Orange parade and marched alongside Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill.

The West Orange Public School district was also well-represented, featuring appearances by board of education members Ken Alper, Sandra Mordecai and Cheryl Merklinger; Acting Superintendent of Schools Eveny de Mendez; Principal Hayden Moore, the Marching Mountaineers and Color Guard; the ROTC; the Boys Step Team; and Girl Scouts, Brownies and Cub Scouts. It was a bittersweet moment for the senior Mountaineers and Color Guard members as they made their final appearances with the band.

Major Parade Day contributors/sponsors this year included ESPOS Test Prep, PKF O’Connor Davies Accountants and Advisors, The Shauger Group and Unique Scaffolding Systems, LLC.