NUTLEY, NJ - Santa Claus and the Grinch crashed the Nutley Irish American Association’s annual Christmas dinner at the Stuart E. Edgar Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 493 hall on Friday, Dec. 13.

The Grinch tried to steal all the gifts from Santa and the children too, but the kids teamed up and chased him away. Santa was able to give each child an early present.

Ten-month–old Finley James Rotondo of Nutley, Santa’s youngest fan that evening, was one of many children to sit on his lap and tell him the rest of his Christmas list.

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The Rev. Thomas Nicastro, of St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, NIAA’s St. Patrick's Day Parade chaplain, gave the invocation and wished everyone a Merry Christmas.

A potluck buffet table, almost the length of one wall, included salad, shrimp cocktail, muscles, shepherd's pie, Mexican rice, pierogis, baked ziti, macaroni and cheese, and chicken and broccoli. Dessert included cream puffs, eclairs, cookies and cake.

A table filled with toys was near the entrance for Toys for Tots. Many members participated bringing an unwrapped toy. While the NIAA host many events to raise funds for their parade, this event was just a Christmas party.

NIAA President Thomas McEnery presented a $1,000 check to the Nutley VFW. Fred Penaranda, VFW member accepted the check on behalf of Commander Darrell Root. Over the years Nutley Irish has given back over $15,000 to the Nutley VFW. They also give back to many other organizations in town including educational, sports, music boosters, and scholarships to students at NHS. In 2018, NIAA gave $6,000 worth of scholarships to NHS graduates.

Some parade fundraisers they hold include the Shamrock Fest in October, the Grand Marshal Dinner in February, and Night at the Races at Monmouth Racetrack in June. Their biggest fundraiser is the parade ad journal book which holds the biographies of dignitaries and the list of past honorees. The Grand Marshal Dinner will be held on Feb. 8 at the Brownstone in Paterson, more information and tickets to come.

The NIAA now consists of 325 members and meets at the VFW, 271 Washington Ave., on the third Thursday of the month at 8 p.m.  Officers are McEnery, president; Karen O’Connor, vice president; Brenda Sherman, treasurer; Deidre Hollywood, corresponding secretary; Judy McIntyre, recording secretary and Frank Costenbader, legal counsel. Trustees are McEnery, O’Connor, Hollywood, McIntyre, Sherman, Dan Kane, John Kruse, Shane McClafferty, Mary O'Connell, Steve Tucholski and Anthony Wieners.

This year’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade Grand Marshal is the Honorable Karen Smith, Deputy Grand Marshal is Brian Blum, Member of the Year is Dan Kane, Parade Queen is Erin Baker and Police Officer of the Year is Detective Robert McDermott of the Nutley Police Department.

Nutley’s 42nd annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will be held on March 7 along Franklin Avenue. An Investiture Mass kicks off the parade at 10 a.m. at St Mary's Church, 17 Monsignor Owens Place. The parade lineup will begin at noon at the Holy Family Parking Lot and the parade will begin promptly at 1 p.m.

The next Nutley Irish general meeting will be held at8 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16. For more information, visit


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