UNION, NJ—Twenty-one years after the first Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade stepped off on Morris Avenue the tradition continues on Saturday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. sharp with thousands of marchers and spectators gathering to celebrate the patron saint of Ireland.
This year’s Grand Marshal, John McPartlan of Scotch Plains, will lead the march of bagpipe and high school bands, local police and fire department units, veterans groups and many more organizations through the center of Union.
“I am excited to be a part of this parade and all that it stands for year after year. This parade is about tradition and family,” McPartlan said. “It’s a great day for the Irish and Union County.”
McPartlan, the owner of Molly Maguire’s Irish Pub & Restaurant in Clark, has been involved with the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade for several years. The Brooklyn native has strong Irish roots with his father, John, hailing from County Leitrim. His mother, Sally Ann O’Connor, was the daughter of William and Mary (Sheridan) O’Connor, each born and raised from either side of Ballinrobe, County Mayo.
The pub owner is active in local Irish American circles, most notably for organizing and hosting the annual golf outing benefiting the parade, which is dedicated to St. Patrick and all of the Saints of Ireland.
“John has done so much for both the parade and for the community,” said Parade General Chairwoman Kathleen Holmes. “We are so proud to have him lead us as this year’s Grand Marshal.”
Thanks to the efforts of the parade committee working behind the scenes year-round, the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade has grown from drawing 10,000 spectators during its inaugural run in 1997 to more than 40,000 on-lookers in recent years.
According to Parade Adjutant Pam Joyce, who coordinates parade logistics with the Township of Union, the 2018 Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade will feature high school marching bands from the Township of Union and Roselle Park and the Governor Livingston High School Highlander Band.
The many bagpipe bands marching include the Union County Police & Fire Pipes & Drums and the St. Columcille United Gaelic Pipe Band. Also marching will be Fourth Degree color guards from the Knights of Columbus, non-profit units and local police and fire departments. The Castlerea Brass and Reed Pipe Band from Castlerea, County Roscommon, Ireland, will once again be marching,.
The family-friendly festivities kick off at 12 noon at the reviewing stand located at the corner of Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues in Union Center with a warm Irish welcome from parade officials, traditional Irish music and Irish step-dancing.
The one-mile parade will begin at 1:00 p.m. at Commerce Ave. and Morris Ave., proceeding east on Morris Avenue to Union Center and south onto Stuyvesant Ave., ending at Roosevelt Ave.
The parade will also feature a Kids Zone presented by the Union Special Improvement District. The Kids Zone will feature inflatable rides, walk-around entertainers and activities for the whole family. Located on Stuyvesant and Morris Avenues, the Kid Zone brings additional amusement for young visitors, as well as the young-at-heart.
“We thank full-heartily all the sponsors and supporter who help make this parade possible,” General Chairwoman Holmes added.
The primary sponsor of the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade is Verizon. Key sponsors include RD Management, Maser Engineering, Horizon BCBSNJ and BCB Bank. The parade committee also thanks American Landmark, Robbins Agency, Union County, the Friendly Sons of Saint Patrick of Union County and the Township of Union for their continued support.
The following organizations make up the Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee: The John Cryan Association, The Thornsticks, The Irish-American Society of Union, The Friendly Sons of St. Patrick Union County, the Joseph Nugent Sr. Association, the Kenilworth Veterans Center/VFW 2230, the Ancient Order of Hibernians of Rahway, the Union County Emerald Society, the Sheridan School of Irish Dance, the Union County Irish-American Association, the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians of Elizabeth, the Garden State Ceili Club, St. Helen’s R.C. Church in Westfield, St. John the Apostle in Linden, Union County Daughters Of Ireland, St. Columcille Pipes & Drums, Knights of Columbus Council 253 in Elizabeth, Union County Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, Knights of Columbus Council 4504 in Union,Molly Maguire’s Pub, and the Blackthorn Pub.
For more information about the parade visit www.unioncountystpatricksdayparade.com.