UNION, NJ – If previous years are any indication, about 25,000 spectators are expected to line Morris and Stuyvesant Avenues on Saturday, March 12 to watch the 2016 Union County St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Frank McGovern of Cranford will serve as this year’s Grand Marshal.
"This parade has become a part of my family’s life,” said McGovern, who has been involved with the parade for more than 17 years and served 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.”
“The children (young adults) of current parade committee members are now joining the committee to be part of the parade team and keeping the tradition alive,” said McGovern. “It’s important to pass down proud Irish heritage."
“This year's parade is dedicated to the children of Irish heritage and the importance of passing on our heritage to the next generation," said Kerry Ricci, General Chairman of the 2016 parade. "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.”
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.”
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 Ave., 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 begins promptly at 1 p.m., beginning at Commerce and Morris Avenues and proceeding east along Morris Ave., turning at the grandstand at Stuyvesant Avenue and ending at Roosevelt Ave. 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
- 60 = Marching organizations, including Boy/Girl Scout troops, Irish dancing schools, Catholic and public high schools, and veterans organizations
- 21 = Bands
- 25,000 = Spectators expected