UNION, NJ – If previous years are any indication, about 25,000 spectators are expected to line Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues to watch the 2016 Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 12.

General Chairwoman of the 20th anniversary of the parade, Kerry Ricci, said, “the parade this year is dedicated to the children of Irish heritage and the importance of passing on our heritage to the next generation.  As a mom, I am thrilled that the committee strives to make this a family-oriented parade, strengthening our Irish heritage for generations to come.”

Frank McGovern of Cranford, selected as this year’s Grand Marshal, said “this parade has become a part of my family’s life.”  McGovern has been involved with the parade for more than 17 years, serving as the parade’s 2005 General Chairman. “I know its part of other families’ annual traditions as well. This parade is about tradition and family.”

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McGovern said that it’s important to pass down proud Irish heritage. “The children (young adults) of current parade committee members are now joining the committee to be part of the parade team,” said McGovern, “keeping the tradition alive”.

The parade committee is made up of members of 18 organizations from around the County.  Participation and representation in the parade is provided from all Union County towns.  “Union County is tremendously diverse and the parade is one of the biggest events of the year,” said Ricci.  “Regardless of your heritage, it’s a great day for many families.”

“This is the largest, fastest growing, family-oriented parade in the state,” added Ricci.

As always, the parade festivities begin with the Thornstick Mass at 9:00 a.m. held at St. Patrick’s Church in Elizabeth, followed by a welcoming reception at the church.

Parade events begin at 12:00 at the grandstand located at the intersection of Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues. The “Kids Zone”, with rides, games and vendors, is open for kids of all ages on Stuyvesant Avenue, just past the main reviewing stand.  As a special attraction, the New Jersey Hall of Fame Travelling Museum will be available to parade-goers.

The parade commences promptly at 1:00 p.m., beginning at Commerce and Morris Avenues and proceeding east along Morris Avenue, turning at the grandstand at Stuyvesant Avenue and ending at Roosevelt Avenue.  Some of the best views of the parade are from the Burnet Junior High School area at Morris and Caldwell Avenues and from the grandstand area at Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues.

Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade by the numbers:

20 = Number of years since the parade’s inception

1.1 = Length of parade in miles

5 = Number of divisions in the parade, including the Lead and Protocol

            divisions

60 = Marching organizations, including Boy/Girl Scout troops, Irish

            dancing schools, Catholic and public high schools, veterans

            organizations

21 = Bands

25,000 = Spectators expected

25  = Parade Adjutant staff members

For more information on the parade including where to park and road closures, visit the Parade’s Facebook page at:  https://www.facebook.com/Union-County-Saint-Patricks-Day-Parade-275465810198/?fref=ts or their website at:  http://unioncountystpatricksdayparade.com/info.html, or call the parade hotlines at  908.906.4622 or 908.432.6719.