SOMERVILLE, NJ – From McCormick’s Pub at the east end of Main Street to Mannion’s Pub on the west end, the St. Patrick’s Day celebration gets started one week early and will continue beyond March 17th.
The centerpiece of the borough’s St. Patrick’s celebration is the 26th annual St. Patrick’s Parade held on Sunday, March 12th.
The parade is expected to draw upwards of 15,000-20,000 people. Held on the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day each year, the parade begins at 1:30 p.m. on East Main Street adjacent to the Somerset County Courthouse and heads west down Main Street, concluding two hours later in the vicinity of the plaza where Borough Hall is located at West End Avenue.
There will be floats, pipe & drum marching bands, Irish step dancers, civic organizations, fire companies, youth groups, politicians and all the trimmings, according to Pat Mannion, proprietor of Mannion’ s Irish Pub, 150 W. Main St. and member of the Somerville St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee.
Stepping out on the parade route will be eight pipe and drum Irish bands and 75 marching units, including the Somerset Police Pipe & Drums; St. Ann’s of Hampton Pipe & Drums, the MacGregor Pipe Band, the Immaculata High School Color Guard and Marching Band, the Somerville High School Marching Band and the Mummers’ Aqua String Band, according to Mannion.
Leading the line of march will be Grand Marshal Jack McCullagh, the 2017 Hibernian of the Year.
In the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day – everyone wants to be Irish at least one time a year - Verve Restaurant, Bar & Bistro, 18 E. Main St. will serve bangers and mash, corned beef and other Irish fare on parade day to help the parade committee raise funds to defray the expenses of the parade, which run upwards of $20,000. The Verve buffet is $15.
Entertainment begins Friday night at Mannion’s. 150 W. Main St., with a live performance by Jake Valentine, followed on Saturday night by the Irish Rakes, direct from Dublin. The Irish Rakes will headline a busy Sunday following the annual parade, along with bagpipers, Irish step dancers and the Guinness Girls with giveaways.
It picks up again Thursday, March 16 on through St. Patrick’s Day March 17 and the weekend. On Thursday, March 16, the Irish Rakes will perform from 6-10 .m. with Irish Step Dancers at 7 p.m. and bagpipes at 7:45 p.m.
Finally, on Friday, March 17, St. Patrick’s Day arrives, with the Irish Rakes performing throughout the day from noon-midnight, with Irish step dancers and bagpipers. The celebration closes out on Saturday, March 18 with the Irish Rakes performing from 8 p.m.-midnight, along with Irish step dancers and bagpipers.
Mannion said he has already ordered 1,200 pounds of corned beef.