UNION, NJ – Despite frigid weather, marchers took to the streets for the 21th Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Union. Although the crowds were smaller than usual, thousands did come out to watch as numerous pipe and drum bands, police associations, fireman, civic organizations, Irish dancers and hundreds of others marched up Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues to the sounds of bagpipers and high school bands.
Among the dignitaries in attendance at the parade this year were U.S. Senator Robert Menendez, State Senator Raymond Lesniak, Assemblyman Jamel Holley and Assemblywoman Annette Quijano, Congressmen Leonard Lance and Donald Payne, Jr., Union County Sheriff Joseph Cryan, and Union County Freeholders Bruce Bergen, Vernell Wright, Bette Jean Kowalski, Mohamed Jalloh and Chris Hudak.
The day began with the customary mass at St. Patrick’s Church in Elizabeth. This year Archbishop Joseph William Cardinal Tobin celebrated the mass followed by a reception there and a procession of vehicles to the parade grandstand in Union.
This year’s parade was dedicated to Catholic schools of Union County. Catholic schools including St. John the Apostle School, St. Michael Parish School (Union and Cranford), Our Lady of Guadalupe Academy, St. Theresa’s School, Roselle Catholic High School marched in the third division. As an annual tradition, a large contingent of state troopers marched with their band, “The Blue and Gold," in honor of deceased trooper and Union County resident Thomas Hanratty.
This year's Grand Marshal was traffic reporter Joe Nolan, who led the parade with his many aides. General Chairman Harry Capko, Parade Adjutant Debbie Sully with Division and Assistant Adjutants and parade committee members
“It was really cold, but we had a great time anyway,” said Camille Burrows, who watched the parade with her family. “We just dressed for it.”