NUTLEY, NJ - The frigid cold temperatures and a mostly cloudy sky did not ruin the Nutley Irish American Alliance’s 39th annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Saturday, March 4. The day began with a morning investiture mass at St. Mary’s Church in Nutley.
The Rory O’Moore Pipes and Drum Band performed marching through the church preceding the priests and parade dignitaries.
The celebrant was the Rev. Thomas Quinn from St. Michael’s Church in Jersey City joined with con-celebrants the Revs. Richard J. Berbary and Thomas Nicastro of St. Mary’s church, The Rev. Ivan Scriberras of St. Peter’s Church in Belleville and the Rev. Augustine Curly of Benedictine Abbey in Newark.
A full mass was held with many of the NIAA members and parade dignitaries contributing to the service. Quinn and Nicastro blessed the parade sashes and NIAA Legal Counselor Francis J. Costenbader tied them on the dignitaries on one by one starting with Grand Marshal Frank Dauksis.
The dignitaries gave offerings to the church symbolic of their family’s Irish heritage. Dauksis presented a plaque with the coat of arms from County Roscommon, where his paternal great-grandparents immigrated. Deputy Grand Marshal Shane Michael McClafferty who is from Achill Island chose County Mayo and selected golden rose a symbol of Our Lady of Knock. Member of the Year Colleen Nielsen picked County Clare where her maternal great-grandparents derive. She presented a tin whistle, since the area is known for traditional Irish music. Parade Queen Morgan Sim narrowed her diverse Irish background down to Co. Down selecting both a statue of St. Patrick from the county, where his burial place is and a map of Downpatrick. Firefighter of the Year Michael C. Budinick selected two photographs of statues from County Cork. His maternal great-great-grandmother is from the area.
The 2016 grand marshal and deputy grand marshal Mary Ellen Clyne, Ph.D., president and CEO of Clara Maass Medical Center; and John Kruse, respectively, presented the gifts of bread and wine. During the communion meditation, “Danny Boy” was performed by harpist Kristy Chmura. Quinn and Berbary closed the mass. “Sunshine is coming through our stained glass window of St. Patrick,” said Berbary.
The pipes and drums band performed at the front of the church, then marched their way out again with all following behind them.
“Lovely day for a parade. It will be great to see a big crowd. The Irish American Alliance put on a great parade every year. We thank them for all their contributions to the community,” said Mayor Joseph Scarpelli before the parade kicked-off.
The parade route started from Holy Family Church on Harrison Street and headed west on Franklin Avenue. Police and fire trucks led the way as the South Park & District Pipe Band of South Orange, was the first of 10 pipe bands to perform on the parade route. The Nutley High School marching band performed as well.
Present in the parade were Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen, Assemblyman Ralph Caputo, Nutley Mayor Joseph Scarpelli and Commissioners Mauro G. Tucci, Steven L. Rogers and Alphonse Petracco as well as Belleville’s Deputy Mayor Vinnie Cozzarelli, Councilwoman Marie Strumolo Burke and Nutley Police and Fire Chief’s Thomas Strumolo and Paul Cafone. Organizations and clubs included girl and boy scouts, Holy Family Nursery School, Nutley Unico and Nutley VFW. “St. Patrick” also walked the route.
“Besides the cold weather, it’s a good time, great parade, good turnout, the people are enjoying it, overall it’s been a great day,” said Strumolo.
Spectators although not overwhelming stayed till the very end of the parade despite the below freezing temperature and heavy winds. According to Nutleyites Immacolata Marra and Carol Ballester, they never miss a parade. “We are here, every parade,” said Marra. “One of the best parades, it’s beautiful,” added Ballester.
Past president of the NIAA and the 2001 Women of the Year Liz Meder and the 1992 Parade Queen Rebecca Mainiero watched the parade from the viewing stands. “It’s good as every year, but a shame it’s so cold. Only half the crowd they always get,” said Meder.
After the parade the dignitaries and NIAA members gathered at the Nutley Elks to celebrate the day.