NUTLEY, NJ - A sea of green filled the Nutley Parks and Recreation Building on Park Avenue, where over 300 people gathered with the Nutley Irish American Association to celebrate its 42nd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 7 to celebrate.

The Nutley Irish usually hold their After Party at the Veterans of Foreign War Post 493 in Nutley but they have outgrown the space for the parade celebration. Even at the Parks and Rec. they needed to add more tables and chairs for the growing crowd.

The busy day started at 10 a.m. with an Investiture Mass at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, and then at 1 p.m. the parade kicked off from Holy Family Church on Harrison Street and continued to the viewing stands in front of John H. Walker Middle School on Franklin Avenue, wrapping up around 2:30 p.m.

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At the after party, the patrons enjoyed a buffet of corned beef and cabbage and both Guinness and Harp flowed from the tap. South Park District Pipes & Drums marched the parade dignitaries into the building. The pipe band performed a few songs for the crowd, circling around the dance floor.

Thomas McEnery, NIAA president, called each of the dignitaries to the floor to praise them one more time. Each thanked the organization and their family and friends for the honor. Deputy Grand Marshal Brian Blum celebrated his 50th birthday with a cake with his family and friends. Parade Chair Deidre Hollywood was also acknowledged for her hard work in making the day run smoothly.

The Captain and O'Neill, is comprised of Scott Sim, the 2009 grand marshal, retired Belleville Police Department captain on vocals, and plays piano, guitars, pipes, and whistles and Pat O'Neill, a Bayonne Police Department detective also on vocals and plays pipes. The group entertained the crowd with a mix Irish tunes, County and Rock and Roll music. Young and old danced all afternoon into the night, even teaching some Irish steps.

The Captain and O'Neill asked all veterans to join them on the floor as they performed Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A” for them. The Essex County Emerald Society Pipes & Drums marched in performing for the crowd.

The Nutley Irish always hold their parade the first weekend of March in order to have a sufficient number of pipe and drum bands perform in the parade, and to join them afterwards. It may be their Irish luck, that Nutley was able to have a parade this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, most of New Jersey and New York’s St. Patrick Day parades scheduled after March 7 were canceled or postponed until September. As of this writing, they have not been rescheduled. 

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