WEST ORANGE, NJ - It was a grand day in West Orange as thousands turned out for the 63rd Annual St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Main Street was awash in green as the proud descendants of Irish immigrants, many of whom settled in West Orange and surrounding towns, celebrated their heritage as bagpipers, marching bands, town officials, organizations, and law enforcement marched along the parade route. Law enforcement, especially police and fire departments in New York and New Jersey, have strong roots in the Irish community.

Supportive and enthusiastic community members, representing the other 53 or three or so nationalities that call West Orange home, watched appreciatively as the grandchildren and great-granchildren of many of the township's founding fathers honored their traditions and heritage.

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The Alternative Press of West Orange was stationed at the Degnan House Grandstand, where long-time parade organizers Carol Sharkey-Corcoran, and Stephanie Gallo emceed and introduced the marchers as they approached. 

The groups, some from as far away as New York and Boston, were enthusiastically greeted. Award-winning bagpipers and marching bands, including the Essex Shillelagh Pipes and Drums, the Essex County Emerald Society Police and Fire Pipes and Drums, West Orange High School, and many more played Irish songs and entertained the crowd, comprised of babies in strollers to elderly supporters dressed in Irish cable knit sweaters and berets.

Kate Davenport, freelance reporter for West Orange TAP captured the marriage proposal of West Orange Firefighter Nick Gillo to Nicole Giannopoulos.  (She said yes).

So to all near and far, whether Irish each day of of the year or only on March 17, The Alternative Press extends a Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh (Happy St. Patrick's Day) to all.

For even more photos, go to the Parade's Facebook page for photos by the parade's official photographer, Rob Swenson.

"Like" us on Facebook and visit the Alternative Press of West Orange's Facebook page for additional photos of March 17.